Gender Roles in Children’s Books

Gender Roles in Children’s Books: An Examination of Little House in the Big Woods and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone People use several different classification systems to help organize a complex society. For example, scientists use a system composed of hierarchies in order to place animals in their proper kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. By creating this classification system, people of society are better able to understand the relationships that these animals have with each other.

Just as scientists use this hierarchy to organize animals, people use the concept of gender to classify their own kind. However, many people fail to realize that gender, unlike the system of hierarchies used by scientists to classify animals, is not biologically based. While sex is a biological concept, gender can be defined as the sociological, psychological, and cultural attributes that society associates with sex. Thus, society creates gender roles, and, accordingly, “does gender.

In other words, people require that others act out the gender roles set by society if they want to be part of the social norm. The purpose of this paper, then, is to first examine literature which discusses ways in which society “does gender”, and then examine the manner in which authors of children’s books promote these gender roles that society has assigned. Judith Lorber’s article entitled, “Night to His Day: The Social Construction of Gender” (as qtd. in Ferguson, 2005) is one example of a piece of literature that examines “doing gender.

In this article, she argues that the concept of gender exists because of socialization; that is, society teaches that certain characteristics should be associated with boys while other characteristics should be associated with girls. As aforementioned, in order to demonstrate why society uses gender classifications from birth, Lorber says that people must look at gender as a social institution in that “gender is one of the major ways that human beings organize their lives” (as qtd. in Ferguson, 121). One of the ways that people allocate others for performing tasks in society, then, is through gender classification.

After discussing socialization theory, Lorber goes on to give several examples of how people “do gender” in today’s society. For example, she discusses how men with baby carriers are stared at approvingly on the bus because these men are seen as changing the role of fathers more towards the domestic end of the spectrum, a role that was previously played only by mothers. She also discusses several signs that people use to identify the gender of another person. From birth, baby boys are dressed in blue and baby girls are dressed in pink and are sometimes characterized by pierced ears.

Once gender roles are assigned, people treat one another accordingly. Boys are taught to be competitive and are trained to use teamwork, whereas girls are treated more delicately because society expects them to be nurturing. From birth on, then, girls and boys are taught by society what it means to be feminine and masculine, respectively. Another sociologist, Michael Messner, illustrates how society “does gender” by discussing the elective affinity between masculinity and sports through his piece entitled, “Boyhood, Organized Sports, and the Construction of Masculinities” (as qtd. Ferguson, 2005).

In this article Messner claims that sports teach people to devalue femininity, which is evident through negative expressions coined by society such as “You throw like a girl. ” Because playing sports teaches aggression and teamwork, the world of sports is an institution that is built around masculinity. Even when women play sports, they are masculinized. Due to the idea that gender roles are assigned at birth, it would be interesting to explore how children’s book authors promote masculinity and femininity through the messages conveyed in their storytelling.

Two books from different time periods, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods and J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, will be examined. Lorber would argue that in Little House in the Big Woods, originally written in 1932, Wilder assigns her characters traditional gender roles. For example, the male is depicted as the provider and protector of the females in the family. Wilder states, “Pa might hunt alone all day in the bitter cold, in the Big Woods covered with snow, and come home at night with nothing for Ma and Mary and Laura to eat” (5-6).

While it is Pa’s job to face the harsh elements in search of food, fight off bears (or stumps) with clubs, discipline the children through physical means, and drive the buggy, it is Ma’s duty to stay home with the children and do the housework. Ma describes her weekly routine by saying, “Wash on Monday, iron on Tuesday, mend on Wednesday, churn on Thursday, clean on Friday, bake on Saturday, rest on Sunday” (29). In addition, Wilder depicts the women in her book to be concerned with physical beauty, while the men are not concerned with their appearances.

A prime example of this preoccupation with beauty occurs as Laura’s aunts get ready for the dance at Grandpa’s. Wilder describes this event and states, “Aunt Docia and Aunt Ruby made themselves pretty in their roomLaura sat on their bed and watched them comb out their long hair and part it carefullyThey helped each other with their corsetsAunt Ruby braced her feet and pulled harder. Aunt Docia kept measuring her waist with her hands, and at last she gasped, I guess that’s the best you can do'” (140). This quote illustrates that the females in the book are willing to go to extreme means to look beautiful.

Lorber might argue that Laura and Mary become aware of a woman’s need to look pretty due to socialization. In other words, Ma, Aunt Docia, and Aunt Ruby pass down to them the idea that women should be attractive, for Laura and Mary become very concerned with the way they dress, the way that their hair is combed, and whether blonde or brown hair is prettier. Wilder also portrays the message that girls, not boys, should act proper at all times. Ma speaks to Laura and Mary about her own childhood and states, “It was harder for little girls.

Because they had to behave like ladies all the time, not only on Sundays. Little girls could never slide down the hill, like boys. Little girls had to sit in the house and stitch on samplers” (96). This statement promotes the idea that girls should be passive, reserved, and remain in the home, unlike boys, who should engage in more aggressive, physical, outdoor activities. It is also interesting to note that Wilder has even limited the animals in this book to traditional gender roles. For example, every dog mentioned in the story is male, whereas every cat is female.

Dogs are generally thought to be more aggressive and protective then cats (hence the idea of the watchdog), and in essence, more masculine. Thus, it is no surprise that in the opening scene of the story, Jack the Bulldog (as opposed to Jill the Bulldog) lay watch over Pa’s gun during the night in order to protect Ma and the girls from the wolves. Although the characters in Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods exhibit traditional gender roles, those in Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone portray a different message as to what it means to be male and female.

The book begins by describing the Dursley’s as a family with traditional roles. Rowling states, “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normalMr. Dursley was the director of a firm called Grunnings, which made drills. He was a big beefy man with hardly any neck… Mrs. Dursley was thin and blonde and had nearly twice the usual amount of neck” (1). Like Pa, Mr. Dursley is the provider for the family and is described with masculine words. Mrs. Dursley stays home and takes care of their child, Dudley, and she is described with more delicate words.

The idea that this family is “perfectly normal” illustrates that the norms set by society may still involve these traditional gender roles. However, Rowling quickly attaches negative connotations to the way that this family functions. Once Harry reaches Hogwart’s School of Wizardry, which is the embodiment of everything that society would not consider normal, traditional gender roles disappear for the most part. Not only are there women leaders at the school, such as Minerva McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress, but some males have feminine qualities while some females have masculine characteristics.

For example, Harry is described as “small and skinny” with a “thin face and knobby knees” (20), while Pansy Parkinson is depicted as a “hard-faced Slytherin girl” who does not like “fat little cry-babies” (148). In addition, females at Hogwart’s are encouraged to be just as aggressive as the males. For instance, there are girls on the Quidditch team, such as Angelina Johnson, Alicia Spinnet, and Katie Bell, and they are just as talented as the boys on the team.

An announcer at one of the first games of the season speaks of a play and says, “And the Quaffle is taken immediately by Angelina Johnson of GryffindorJohnson back in possession of the Quaffle, a clear field ahead and off she goesshe’s really flyingdodges a speeding BludgerGRIFFINDOR’S SCORE! ” (186). This statement helps to illustrate the elective affinity between masculinity and sports that Messner describes. The game of Quidditch teaches all players, male and female, to be aggressive and use teamwork in order to succeed.

Finally, both men and women possess bravery and play the role of the “protector” at Hogwart’s. When Hermione is cornered by a troll in the girls bathroom, “Harry stuck his wand up its nose and Ron knocked it out with its own club” (178), thereby saving her life. On the other hand, when Harry is about to be knocked off his broom at the Quidditch game, Hermione saves the day by fighting “her way across to the stand where Snape stood”, knocking “Professor Quirrel headfirst into the front row”, and casting a spell (191). All of this happens as Ron looks on and Neville cries into Hagrid’s jacket.

Based on the various examples provided, the gender role messages portrayed by Wilder and Rowling differ significantly. While Wilder’s characters exhibit traits that help to reinforce the gender norms created by society, Rowling seems to suggest that life is more interesting when these traditional gender roles are bent, just as life is more exciting at Hogwart’s than at the Dursley household. Therefore, in order for males and females to feel comfortable taking advantage of the plethora of opportunities that are available to them, members of society must strive to bend the gender roles that they have assigned.

The Feminine Mystique and the Organization Man

For many years society has embraced the idea that the difference between men and women were biologically determined. Others see not only the physical but also the social, emotional and intellectual differences between males and females. Though through traditions, media, and press, we act accordingly to how others view us. Each individual has pressure placed upon them based on their genders. Our sex is determined by genetics while our gender is programmed by social customs. Gender roles by definition are the social norms that dictate what is socially appropriate male and female behavior.

Some theories interpret that a woman is tender and a loving mother, while on the other hand men are aggressive and are the dominant one of the family. An individual gender role is modeled through socialization. Individuals learn the ways, traditions, norms, and rules of getting along with others. A persons environment has a big influence on the roles deemed expectable for men and women. The fact that gender roles exist is indisputable. Gender roles influence men and women in virtually every area of life. Early into childhood girls and boys are treated differently in families, schools, and other institutions.

Most children are raised with the belief that girls are pretty in pink and boys are rough in blue. As infants grow older, their parents ideas about gender stereotypes continue to influence how their children are treated. Mothers and fathers tend to look at their baby girls as more fragile than their boys. Girls are encouraged to play with dolls, while boys are taught to play with trucks and army toys. This can be seen at just about any playground, schoolroom, or home in America. Commercials on TV show these same characteristics everyday. When a commercial for a Barbie doll comes on, you dont see a boy playing with it.

In fact you dont see a boy in the commercial at all. Just the opposite is true for boys toys. Girls arent seen in their commercials either. There is TV shows that work the same way. When I was a kid, I watched cartoons like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and my sister watched ones like Care Bears. Each show was obviously made and watched predominately by one gender. Girls dont watch Ninja Turtles and boys dont watch Care Bears. In present time, there is a whole channel devoted just to women. Womens Entertainment Television is the newest arrival on the scene. Yet there is no mens entertainment channel.

Women are told to watch this station. If there were a channel made just for women, what excuse would they have for not watching it? Socialization is the process by which all people learn what is expected of them through their interactions with others. For example, the household chores that are assigned by ones parents are one way to shape a childs gender role for the future. In many households, boys do the taking out of the trash, mowing the grass, shoveling the snow, and all other duties that are seen as manly. While girls clean the house, do the dishes, cook, baby-sit, and all other stereotypically women things.

In many cultures women are taught to depend on others for protection from bodily harm. Women are not taught to defend themselves from strangers because fathers and husbands can do it for them. Traditional gender roles for women are nurturing, dependence, and emotional expressiveness, not physical strength or toughness. Emotionally this is impacting on the woman because she has to teach other females how to be caretakers. Women are taught to be self-sacrificing and passive. As a result, a womans identity is based on how well she serves others. But this idea doesnt hold as true as it once did.

Women are now being taught to be stronger than men and to be more independent. Such TV shows as Oprah show this idea every day. You never see or hear her and her guests telling men to stand up together and become more powerful. The audience is almost all females. The topics almost always have to do with women and womens issues. There arent any male shows that deal with these same issues in the male perspective. Of course there are shows that are made for and watched by men. The cable TV stations Oxygen and Lifetime are for women, and have shows just like Oprah. The whole schedule is composed to be appealing to women.

Women should be allowed to have there own TV stations, but not if the same doesnt go for men. It should be a two way street. With small things like this becoming more popular, eventually its going to lead to things and ideas that is of much greater importance. Women and men should be on the same plain; ideas such as this make it seem as though women should be greater than men. In a different aspect, women are now being taught that they can and sometimes even should raise their children on their own. Not too long ago, it was seen as being wrong for women to be single mothers.

Women were looked down upon if they had children out of wedlock. Now women are told that they can be strong and raise their children alone. Because of this, men are seen as the problem in relationships and the reason that there are so men single mothers. Once again if you look at television talk shows, you can see how many single mothers there are. Shows about troubled children, the fathers are never there. But its alright for women to raise children independently? Gender equality has been a social concern since man first stepped foot on the earth. When we think of gender equality discrimination is the first thought that comes to mind.

Gender roles by definition are the social norms that dictate what is socially male and female behavior. The argument begins between these two sides when the gender roles in society are looked at more closely; are they fair on both sides, or do they in fact discriminate against he two sexes. Men are taught to be emotionless in times of stress and women are taught to be helpless and needy. This is how our society expects men and women to behave. Maybe in the near future as a culture we will use gender transcendence, in which as a people we will abandon our assigned gender ideas, so that other aspects of life become separated and gender free.

Gender Inequality

The issue of gender inequality is one which has been publicly reverberating through society for decades. The problem of inequality in employment being one of the most pressing issues today. In order to examine this situation one must try to get to the root of the problem and must understand the sociological factors that cause women to have a much more difficult time getting the same benefits, wages, and job opportunities as their male counterparts.

The society in which we live has been shaped historically by males. The policy-makers have consistently been male and therefore it is not urprising that our society reflects those biases which exist as a result of this male-domination. It is important to examine all facets of this problem, but in order to fully tackle the issue one must recognize that this inequality in the workforce is rooted in what shapes future employees and employers– education.

This paper will examine the inequalities in policy, actual teaching situations, admission to post-secondary institutions, hiring, and job benefits and wages. It will also tackle what is being done to solve this problem and what can be done to remedy the situation. The late 1960s brought on the first real indication that feminist groups were concerned with the education system in North America. The focus of these feminist groups captured the attention of teachers, parents, and students.

At first the evidence for inequality in schooling was based on no more than specific case studies and anecdotal references to support their claims but as more people began to show concern for the situation, more conclusive research was done to show that the claims of inequality were in fact valid and definitely indicated a problem with the way that schools were educating the future adults f society. One of the problems which became apparent was the fact that the policy-makers set a curriculum which, as shown specifically through textbooks, was sexist and for the most part still is.

Textbooks are one of the most important tools used in educating students whether they are elementary school storybooks or university medical textbooks. It is therefore no surprise that these books are some of the most crucial information sources that a student has throughout their schooling. Many studies have been done examining the contents of these books to reveal the amount of sexism displayed in these educational tools. The results clearly show that gender inequality definitely runs rampant in textbooks some of the sexism subtle and some overt.

To begin with, it is apparent that historical texts show a distorted view of women by portraying them unfairly and inaccurately and neglecting to mention important female figures, instead opting to describe their sometimes less influential male counterparts. Elementary and secondary school textbooks are also guilty of gender bias. In elementary and secondary school textbooks, sexism takes many forms. Boys predominate in stories for children; they outnumber girls 5 to 2.

When girls are present in texts, they are almost always younger than the boys they are interacting with, which thus makes them foils for the boys’ greater experience and knowledge– a situation commonly referred to as the ninny sister syndrome. ‘ Girls are shown to be far more passive than are boys and to engage in fewer activities. In fact, sometimes grown women are portrayed who rely on small boys (often their young sons) to help them out of difficulty. (Fishel and Pottker 1977. p. 8) Surprisingly it is not only these hidden forms of sexism that appear in textbooks.

One study found sixty-five stories that openly belittled girls (two were found that belittled boys). Another study pointed out an instance where Mark, of the Harper & Row Mark and Janet’ series, states: Just look at her. She is just like a girl. She gives up. ‘ Male characters said, in another story, We much prefer to work with men. ‘ This type of material on the treatment of girls would seem to have little social or educational value, and its widespread use is difficult to understand. (ibid, p. ) In the long run, the ideas put in students heads through textbooks, erhaps through the lack of female role models, can affect the choices they make in the future with regards to employment. Actual teaching situations are also prone to sexism. For the most part teachers do not try to be sexist but, for sociological reasons, can not help it. For the sake of this paper, it will be assumed that these situations occur mostly in co-educational schools, but single sex schools are in no way immune to the same problems.

A perfect example of society’s male-dominance interfering in education unintentionally is when teachers assign projects to their students. The teachers may hand out lists of acceptable topics ranging, in a history class for example, from fashion to transportation. The teachers then give the students a choice as to which topic they would like to do the project on. The underlying problem with this is that girls tend to choose what could be considered more “feminine” topics while the boys will choose the more “masculine” ones.

Offered to the pupils as free choice, such selections are self-perpetuating, leading to the expected choices and amplifying any differences there may have been in attitudes. (Marland 1983, p. 152) The reason for this could be that society, through the media and other modes of communication, has pre-conceived notions as to what issues are “male”, “female”, or unisex. Another example of how females are prone to gender inequality in the classroom is during class discussion and also what the teacher decides to talk about in the class.

Classroom behaviour is a major focal point for those who identify examples of inequality. There are many differences in the way that females and males present themselves at school. It is apparent that in classroom ituations males talk more, interrupt more, they define the topic, and women tend to support them. It is generally believed in our society that this is the proper way to act in classroom situations, that males have it “right” and females don’t, they are just “pushovers” and don’t have enough confidence.

This, however is a big assumption to make. Some research has been done in this field that could, however, begin to refute this stereotype. It is frequently assumed that males use language which is forceful confident and masterful (all values which are regarded as positive). Females on the other hand, it is assumed, use language that is more hesitant, qualified, and tentative. One can look at the example of the use of tag questions, which are statements with questions tagged onto the end such as “I’m going to the store, all right? It is obvious that if the above assumptions about the use of language were true, this hesitant, asking for approval type of question would be more frequently used by women. “. . . studies were carried out to determine whether women used more tag questions than men. It was found that they did not. Betty Lou Dubois and Isabel Crouch (1975) found that men used more tag questions than women. ” (ibid p. 100) The end of high school brings about more obstacles for women on the way to achieving equality in the workplace.

One of the most important steps in achieving a high paying, high status job is post-secondary education. It is apparent that even today women are being encouraged to follow certain educational paths. This is shown very simply by the fact that even here at Queen’s University, men vastly outnumber women as both students and faculty members in such programs as Applied Science, while women greatly outnumber men in the programs of nursing and concurrent education. Women have historically been encouraged to enter into what could be considered “caring professions” such as nursing, teaching, and social work.

This is shown very crudely in the book Careers for Women in Canada which was published in 1946 and written by a woman. The book devotes almost 200 pages to pursuing careers in such fields as catering, sewing, being a secretary, interior decorating, the arts, teaching, and nursing while it only allocates 30 pages to medicine, law, dentistry, engineering, optometry, and more combined. The following quote clearly illustrates the beliefs of the more liberal people of that time. “Some women have specialized in surgery.

There can be no doubt but that a capable woman may operate very successfully on women and children, though it is doubtful whether a man would call in the services of a female surgeon except in an emergency. (Carriere 1946, p. 234) Although much has improved since the 1940s, the enrollment numbers in university programs clearly indicate that women still have a long way to go before gender is not an issue. After choosing a career path, women enter the workplace with a disadvantage.

They have the same financial responsibilities as men with regards to supporting families and themselves and much of the time they have an even heavier burden because there are many women in today’s society who are single mothers. Given that there is no question that the need for money is identical it can, therefore, be concluded that there is a major problem with the wage structure in today’s jobs. The wage gap clearly shows that society as a whole puts more value on the work of males than on the same work done by females.

The facts that have been displayed above howing that education is itself a sexist institution perhaps explain why there is this inequality once schooling is finished. The fact that textbooks show males as being more successful than females, that teachers set assignments which reinforce gender stereotypes and sex roles, the fact that “masculine” behaviour is reinforced while “feminine” behaviour is condemned, and the fact that women are encouraged to choose certain career paths all validate the claim that the gender inequality in employment situations can be directly related to the way that children are educated.

Gender Roles

When analyzing gender roles in our age today, we are less likely to see the striking differences in the characteristics of men and women as they were portrayed let’s say thirty years ago. However, a strong sense of Androcentricity still remains in not only our society but is stronger than ever in other societies around the world. From the beginning of time, from what we’ve learned in textbooks, television, and other sources of media, of course, the male figure has always been portrayed as powerful, the decision-maker, and the head of the household.

When we think of prehistoric times, for instance, I could almost bet that mental picture of a caveman dragging a woman by the hair is embedded somewhere in the minds of many people of many ages around the world. Not only has this image been handed down to us but has also been part of our society and the world’s for probably centuries. This is just a small example of how the male and female genders are and have been portrayed for hundreds of years. The male, always strong and in command of the woman, is a role which has faded drastically but still leaves an impression when we analyze certain aspects of our society today.

Since birth, we are already placed in our roles of male or female. The little baby boy, ninety percent of the time being wrapped in a blue blanket as soon as he leaves his mother’s womb, and the little baby girl wrapped up in a pink blanket. This identification of color not only initializes the socialization process between both genders but also follows both males and females throughout their whole lives. Throughout childhood many things account for the gender roles we are placed into, such as the gifts we receive on our birthdays or the activities that we are encouraged to participate in.

As a boy, I remember always wanting such things as action figures, toy guns, toy cars, and things of that nature for my birthday or for Christmas. I wasn’t born liking those things, but these are the things that I was taught little boys are supposed to like, if not by the media then by friends or family. This could be very well the reason why many men join the armed forces, feel some weird familiarity with guns and weapons, or often times feel they should be the ones driving the car as opposed to the woman having control of the vehicle.

These symbols of power which are etched into men’s minds from day one, are a big part in the shaping of the rest of their lives. I also remember the presents my sisters would receive on special occasions, which consisted of dolls, toy vanity sets, or tea and kitchen sets. One could say that giving a little girl a doll could be a symbol of motherhood, to prepare her for the future and the vanity set to emphasize the need to stay beautiful. These symbols also play a big role in how the life of a woman develops and is shaped.

Another factor that plays a big role in gender identity and roles is our educational system and what we are taught. From the time we are in elementary school we learn about all these great historical figures in the fields of Science, Literature, and History and all their great discoveries and achievements. The majority of the discoveries and achievements highlighted are by the men and every so often throughout the book some great achievement is mentioned that highlights a historical female figure. This pattern of education was handcrafted hundreds of years ago and is still implemented in our schools today.

Of course much has changed and today many women are recognized for outstanding achievements and honors, even to the point where some researchers in fields such as Sociology limit their research strictly to the lives of women. Such research is labeled as “feminist” and in the field of sociology is known as gynocentricity, or seeing the world from a female perspective. But as stated in Macionis’ Sociology textbook, in a society so male-dominated as our own there is less chance that this type of research would arise on frequent occasions.

Men and Women

Whoever said men and women are equal must be blind. Women have always taken a back seat to men in American society. This occurrence is not only found in the United States, but in other countries as well. It’s safe to say that the Declaration of Independence started it and it has continued to the present. There is one set of standards that apply to men, and another set of standards that apply to women. This is evident in the home, workplace, and society in general.

The problem of men and women not being equal can be traced back to the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Independence proclaimed that all men are created equal. There was no mention of women being equal, only men. At the time of the drafting of the document, the men had all the power. The document was even drafted by a man. Women were confined to the home to take care of the domestic housekeeping duties.

Look no further than the home to see the first sign that men and women are not equal. The traditional role of the man was to work and the money he made would be used by all in the household. The traditional role of the woman was to stay home, take care of the children, clean the house, and cook. Because society has always associated money with power, the person bringing home the money had the power. The man often makes the final decision on all household matters because he has the money.

The workplace is another place where men and women are not equal. The most obvious sign starts at the top. Look at the CEO of the corporation. The majority of CEOs are men. Women serving as CEOs are a rare sight. Another sign of the unfairness can also be found in the lower ranks. Men are often applauded for being assertive and giving orders. By giving orders, men are taking a leadership role.

Demonstrating leadership ability is a quality that employers often look for. On the other hand, women who are assertive and give orders are not well liked in the work place. They are considered as bitches by men. For women to be well liked in the work place, they have to be subordinate to the men. The salary of men and women who do the exact same work differ. Women often make less than men even though they do the exact same thing.

In 1990, the median income was $29,172 for men and $20,586 for women. The fact that women often hold lower ranking positions contribute to the ! problem. There are many gender stereotypes associated with certain jobs. Secretaries, nurses, and maids are associated with women. Corporate executives, lawyers, doctors, politicians, and construction workers are associated with men.

Society as a whole has also contributed to the problem. It starts at the hospital when a baby is born. Boys get blue blankets while girls get pink blankets. Toys are targeted at either boys or girls. Toys that are targeted at boys include trucks, blocks, guns, and soldiers. Toys that are targeted at girls include dolls, kitchen utensils, and doll houses. Boys are raised to be aggressive, tough, dominant, and daring. Girls are raised to be passive, emotional, sweet, and subordinate.

The pattern continues on through marriage and beyond. A clear example of male dominance can be seen when a woman gets married. The woman would change her last name to that of the man’s. She also loses her first name in some instances too. When a piece of mail is addressed to both parties, the name reads Mr. and Mrs. John Doe. The woman’s name is not mentioned.

Another example that men and women are not equal are the terms used to described the sexual habits of men and women. Men who are promiscuous are considered studs, macho, and manly. Men often boast about the many partners they have had. Women who are promiscuous are considered sluts, whores, and prostitutes. Women tend to hide the number of partners they have had. If a man has sex before marriage, he is getting experience and exploring his options. If a woman has sex before marriage, she is not considered pure, a quality often desired by men. There is clearly a double standard for men and woman for the same type of behavior.

The problem of inequality between men and women started with the Declaration of Independence. Society has lived with this inequality for many years. It’s impossible for society to change overnight. The problem will not and cannot disappear overnight. A lot of progress has been made over time but, more time is needed to finish what was started.

Gender and Communication

In response to what we have discussed thus far in Interpersonal Communication, I would like to further explore the idea of gender in the interpersonal communication arena. As was said in class, “gender influences cultural perspectives. ” Gender also influences how we view ourselves in society. On the flip side, I’ve seen how society can mold the way we label ourselves in terms of gender. The well-known concepts of masculinity and femininity run rampant in our society. We live in a world where men are told to be masculine, women are told to be feminine and those who do not do as they are told, will suffer the societal consequences.

The philosophy of masculinity supports the idea that men must be strong. They must show very little emotion, have a career and ultimately be a “breadwinner. ” Men must be muscular and protect the “weaker” sex from harm. Though many of these traits are wonderful to have, realistically speaking, very few men will ever possess enough masculinity to feel worthy of being a man in our society. This truth leaves most men chasing an illusory goal of attaining a masculine identity. Most men will take every opportunity to show their masculinity and to declare to the world that they are indeed a “real” man. This fact is evident when men gather in a bar.

The beer’s going down, testosterone is pumping through the veins, and the motto is, “I ain’t takin’ nothin’ from nobody. ” Most males are looking for a brawl and are looking to solidify their masculine place in the world. Inevitably a fight ensues, people get hurt, and the goal is accomplished. Well, at least for a day or two. Society would like all women to be feminine. That is to say, society would like all women to render themselves as weak, non-assertive, helpless, male-needing beings. Women are told to act lady-like at all times. This means not arguing, not standing up for themselves and obeying men at all times.

The feminine guidelines are seemingly endless and to live a feminine lifestyle is exhausting for most women. It is not accepted for women to spit or belch, whereas for a male these acts are second nature. A fabulous example of manifested pure femininity is the Barbie Doll. Barbie is a homemaker, with a thin body dressed in pink. Barbie is seen as the perfect women and manifests in physical form in every issue of Playboy magazine. Most women are chasing an illusory goal of total femininity, while at the same time searching for complete societal acceptance. Very few people emit all masculine or all feminine behavior.

Most people of our society integrate both feminine and masculine characteristics within their beings. The integration of both masculinity and femininity is known as androgyny. Is has become more and more accepted to be androgynous, yet few people obtain a perfect balance between masculinity and femininity. The unspoken societal rule about gender is, if one is male, one must show more masculine traits than feminine traits, or else risk the chance of being labeled a “pussy” or a “faggot. ” The same is true for women. If women present themselves in an overly masculine manner, they take the risk of being labeled a “butch” or a “dyke.

The concept of androgyny helps to ease the pressure of the strict gender roles in our society. An example where androgynous characteristics are needed is a camp counselor. The counselor needs to be a fearless leader yet also needs to be an empathic listener to those campers in need of help. Gender is taught in our school system, and hence is adopted at a very early age. In my eyes, that explains why it holds such a stigmatic role in our society. As we discussed, many of the paradigms surrounding the issue are actually myths. One of which is “women are (naturally) more empathetic than men.

This may ring true in certain instances, but empathy is by no means an inherent trait, more prominent in women than men. As we can see, society has tagged empathy to being a feminine trait and hence has continued the stigmatic effects of gender. Another myth that is closely related is a myth that states, “women are more nurturing than men. ” Once again one may assume this is true and tie it to the fact that women bear children and hence would be more nurturing, however there is substantial evidence to conclude that this is not so and men can be equally as nurturing as women.

Once again the societal view has led us astray. Masculinity and femininity are social archetypes whose purpose is to control human beings. Their sole purpose is to dictate how we should act in society, yet they lend themselves not to allow people to be what they want. I believe the concept of being one’s true self to be the most liberating. For when one is being who they truly are, the societal concepts of masculinity and femininity are of no importance.

The Glass Ceiling

The glass ceiling starts to form itself very early on. From the moment a woman enters the work force after college, she is faced with much discrimination and unjust belief that she will not be able to do as well of a job than a man. A man and a woman, who both have the same education and training for a job, will have a considerable gap in their yearly income. In a first year job, a man will make approximately $14,619 compared to a woman who will make only $12,201. That is a pay gap of 17%(Gender Pay 1). There is no reason why there should be any gap in their incomes during the first year of their jobs.

They have both had the same formal education and both have the same qualifications necessary for the job, yet they are being treated unequally. The woman has not shown herself to be incapable of accomplishing her job and has given her employer no reason to doubt her commitment to her career other than the simple fact that she is a woman. And this discrimination does not go away. After five years of constant working, at the same rate and level as each other, the pay gap actually increases. A male will get paid an average of $28,119 while a female only receives $22,851 (Gender Pay 1).

This is how things have been done for years. The man typically gets paid more money and holds more executive jobs than women do, simply because they are males. A man will be paid an average of 47% more than females in the course of their lives (Gender Pay 1). Although this is wrong, this has been tradition for so long, both men and women have accepted this way of thinking as right and have just gone along with it. There have been changes in regards to women in top positions within the last few years. However, although those advances are positive, they are still no where equal.

A certain statistic may say that there has been a 14% increase in the number of women in executive jobs for a certain company. However, although that increase is no doubt positive, it fails to tell the true story. That increase is only increases from a very minute number, if not zero, of women who previously held that position. Another thing that that statistic fails to mention is that the most of them include women in that position as that company from all of its worldwide locations. In other words, only 14% of executives around that world for a certain company are women (Misleading 1).

So even though this may be an improvement on womens behalf from years ago, it is still no where equal. Men and women must work hard together to make things equal. Its not the profession that has the glass ceiling, someone has put it there (Brower 162). Men need to change their attitudes and actions towards women in the workplace. They need to abandon believing that they are superior to women. Most men truly believe that a woman is simply not capable of doing as well of a job, or better, than a man can do. Therefore, they become extremely unsupportive of women and fail to recognize their accomplishments.

They decline to give women raises, higher executive positions, more responsibility and overall respect. Many men have very subtle and low-key ways of showing their discrimination. These men know that it is unlawful to discriminate against women, so they do it ways that can have no reprimanding consequences. They will go out to lunch, dinner or drinks with the guys, claiming that it is just a time for male bonding. But the truth of the matter is that most business relationships develop over these bonding times therefore, leaving the female employees out of the equation (Brower 160).

Other men are not so subtle. Male bosses often deliberately overlook a female employee for a promotion by making bogus credentials that only a male would be able to fulfill (Brower 162). Men arent planning to become pregnant and take maternity leave as often as a woman does. My mother has come into contact with both types of men. She has been scanned over for a business lunch or dinner just because she is a woman. She has also had male clients wish to speak with the man in charge instead of talking to her (Brzostowski). These are the types of men who put up the glass ceiling for women.

They still carry prehistoric thoughts that women cannot be committed to a career because they belong at home, taking care of the house, and raising the family. Women in the past never had many rights. In the past, a womans power was always restricted over her own future. They were forced to depend on the men. In society, the men were the ones who represented the women. A woman was depicted as her husbands wife and her childrens mother. These women worked in the home usually producing cloth, sewing, or being a cook or nurse to her family. But this is the year 2000.

Women want to be independent, they want to succeed in a career for themselves, hey want it alland they can to it all. But another thing that men fail to understand is that some women do not have a choice. Some never get married or have a family of their own, so they have no choice but to throw themselves into their job. Others are single parents, divorced or widowed, needing to work in order to support themselves and their children. Men and their unfair and preposterous beliefs toward women in the workplace makes it sometimes impossible for women to have any chance of succeeding.

But it also causes many women to believe that they are not equal and that it is okay for them to be treated differently from men. Male dominance has been prevalent since the earliest records of man, because of this; women in most societies have been at a disadvantage in most aspects in life. Since the industrial revolution the importance of the traditional` farm household activities of women, like agriculture and textiles, have long been taken over by factories. Since most men now work away from home, the basic lower-status housework has been solely put upon the women.

This division of labor caused even more dominance over females, basically making the female a subordinate worker to the dominating boss (husband). This gender discrimination is so deeply rooted in our society that it causes problems for women in every aspect of their life. This oppressed minority which is actually a statistical majority of the U. S. population is exploited at work, school, at home, in the media, and in politics, with one type of oppression reinforcing another. This interior colonization of women is undoubtedly ignored and is taught and basically accepted since the conception.

Segregation starts in the very first minutes that a young boy and girl is born. The boy gets wrapped in the little blue blanket and the girl gets put in the little pink blanket. Girls are looked upon as pretty and delicate, while the little boy, who practically looks the same, is seen as big, strong, and very attentive. No matter how little this situation seems it shows how the genders are being put into two different categories from day one, thus making the discrimination between the two sexes seem normal before the children even have a chance to see themselves for who they are.

As these young girls grow up, they are exposed to even more gender stereotyping. It starts with their earliest readings in children books; where they find women only doing feminine actions and jobs, while males in the books are the ones doing courageous acts and jobs, taking the initiative to overcome impossible situations. As these girls start to grow up, the mass media, through the means of advertisements in newspapers, billboards, TV, and magazines, only see women pictured in feminine situations.

For example, according to the textbook, ads for women generally tend to put them with beauty (modeling, make-up, fashions, and beauty) and household (cooking appliances, cleaning appliances, and food) themes. Having women being judged generally by their attractiveness, basing their self esteem on beauty (furthering their sex object identity), simultaneously banging the housewife identity into their heads. On the other hand the mass media tends to portrait the males in manly advertisements judging them primarily on what they do.

These portraits that are painted by the mass media further the patriarchal society that is already established, and helps make gender domains stronger. All families in America, for a long time, have been based upon established roles between the husband and wife. Through the presence of these womens roles and mans roles the two genders are suppose to act a certain way. Since these roles have been a part of the American culture for so long, women are expected to be subordinate to men. For example, making them dinner after work, doing the laundry and conception and care of children.

They lose much of the major decision making of the family, since society regards the male bringing in money so highly. This lack of power within the family is so institutionalized it gives them such meaningless position when it comes to major things in their life such as: employment, laws, politics, and even their very own body. This meaningless position can be seen in the idea that women do not even get rewarded when they do play the womens role. Women do not get praised for their bearing of children or household work, nor do they gain any power within their family for this.

The power that men hold over women keeps them in a constant state of subordination. This power conflict over women has become so severe that it is not all to uncommon for a man to go so far as to beat his wife. The amount of physical and sexual abuse of women in this society proves this point well. Domestic violence is the most common injury to women, statistically proven millions of women are yearly abuse by their male counter parts. Women in relationships are expected to give themselves, whether willingly or not, to the mans sexual inhibitions.

Another point that shows mans thought of his power over women is the idea of rape in America. The males aggression and lack of respect for women in America make the U. S. have, by far, the most women raped every year. But, because the society is so male dominated these problems are not easily solved. Law officials are often quick to blame the women on most accounts. This patriarchal gender stratification has been carried out of the family and into the work place also. Because men look at females through the womens roles, they have not been able to compete with men in job positions, incomes, or advancement within the work place.

Men, with the idea of women being less capable, are quick to judge women, even if their have better credentials. a common problem for women trying to break into traditionally male occupations is the pre-existing male information and support network. This remains a problem once women are hired. For example only relatively recently have women workers broken into traditionally male-dominated sectors of the auto industry. Until gender stratification is abolished at the family level women will never have equal opportunities in other aspects of life.

When women and men are taught from birth that women are mentally and physically inept compared to men the gender roles will prevail. Womens role and mens roles in society will only slowly improve unless some drastic changes are made. It is not an easy thing to change such an institutionalized social order. Huge efforts at the legislative, in the court, law enforcement, Constitutional rights, and especially by man itself are at need to adjust the society in order for equality and equity of women to happen. Women are the first who need to change in this situation in order for there to ever be a modification and a shatter of this glass ceiling.

They must believe that they can not only succeed, but also that they deserve a chance to succeed. Because the notion that women do not belong in the workplace has been around for so long, women have started to believe that they have no place in a career and at least have no place in the upper level, executive job. A friend of mine puts it best when she stated, Everyone around me believed that it was the mans right to get a promotion before me or the other women in our department, so I just kind of accepted it too. Until one day I realized I deserved it just as much-if not more-than they did. (Budzinski).

Believing that they deserve a better job and equal treatment is the first step that a woman needs to take. Although she will come across many men who will try to hold her back, a woman needs to press on. There are a few simple, obvious success factors that a woman can follow to help her succeed first. Firs, a good track record of achievements will show her boss that she has the attitudes to handle a higher executive position. She has to have the willingness to take career risks. A woman cannot be afraid of herself. She must go out there and give it her all, even if it means taking some risks.

But most importantly, she must have the desire to succeed. She has to want it bad enough, and be willing to do whatever it takes to make is as far as she want to go (Center for Creative et al 24-32). There are many other things that a woman can do, but these are just examples of some basic rules that she can follow. But they will not help if she does not believe. Any woman has the potential to break down the glass ceiling; they just have to use their assets to the best of their ability. It is true that things are getting better for women in the workplace.

They are beginning to make little cracks in the glass ceiling, but things are still no where near to being equal. In order for that to happen, men and women need to work together as a team. Men, as well as women, have to do their part. They both must first believe that women are equal to men, then they must act upon it. It is possible. It is an uphill battle every day, but if we continue to show these men that we are not going away, and if we make our voices heard, they will have no choice but to listen to us and make changes (Brower 160).

Women and men move up in their companies to a point, but eventually you find that men keep moving and women stop(Brower). Women belong in the kitchen. Women are the ones who should take care of their children. Men bring home the bacon. These types of standards were placed upon men and women many years ago. According to old ways of thinking, men are the ones who are supposed to go out into the real world and make all the money. But these old ways of thinking are still the current beliefs too. The men are the ones who are supposed to support their family and do all of the manly handiwork around the house.

Women are supposed to be the passive ones. They are the ones who clean the house, do the shopping, cook, and take care of the children. Stereotypes and social norms play a huge role in the earnings differences between males and females. I agree with her that these two factors did play a huge role in our society explaining differences by sex. Most women decided to get married, become pregnant, and stay home to raise the children, while the men went to work to support the family. This demanded womens jobs to be different from mens with less stress, tension, and physical strain.

This difference existed because traditionally the mothers were required to stay home and raise the children. Women are not traditionally the working types. But as the years have gone by, women have become tired of being passive and want to have their own career and own life. However, something stands in their way—the glass ceiling. This ceiling is an imaginary one that exists for women in the workplace. It represents a line that few women are ever able to cross throughout their lives. On the other side of that line exists a world of corporate executives, heightened responsibility and higher paying jobs.

This is an area that most women can never get to because of that glass ceiling. In the year 2000, the glass ceiling still exists. This ceiling cannot be broken until women are treated as equals. The only way that equality will come about is if both men and women modify their beliefs and actions. I think that today some women are still silent about not being promoted and having different results of earnings than the men even though having equal experience and education. This silence will always exist among some women causing a difference of earnings among men and women to exist for some time still.

Also, some firms tend to hire men more often than women for many reasons. A man is known to be more aggressive than a woman is. Some firms tent to advance more men than women and segregate the different occupations that exist in the firm by their sex. These are basically social norms placed by people in our society due to the major one that men are the dominant figures and that they always will be. I think that a huge impact on the difference among earnings between men and women is because they each enter the labor force with different reasons, tastes, expectations, or maybe qualifications.

One of them may be able to work longer hours or in an unpleasant environment where in return they receive higher pay. Most of us will probably agree that this description fits a mans role more than a womans does. This would be one stereotype that can cause a woman to earn less than a man would. Because women tend to concentrate more on low-paying jobs, their earning rates are lower compared to men. Large earnings differentials exist among male and females occupations and probably will for the next decades. Women might have made some progress toward integrating these occupations due to the fact of human capital investments.

For example, many moms go back to college after raising their kids to earn a better degree so that they can obtain a higher income job. But these women still have not reached equality with men regarding earnings. Many women are reentering the labor force after staying home to raise young children. Slow income growth continues to encourage the need for dual-earner families; ranks of single women are growing also. These trends might continue to grow and develop where the working women can become the majority of the workforce in the future.

There really cant be any policies implemented to address this difference in earnings. Our society has placed stereotypes and social norms that will always exist among us. Women must be allowed to compete freely in all occupations; but they must me undercut. They must demand and receive equal wages for equal work. But women now work for pay in greater numbers, in more occupations, and far more years of their lives than ever before, but too many still settle for compensation far below what it should be, and too many still find their potential curbed by the glass ceiling.

The Psychological Effects of Gender Roles

“Let the boys be boys. ” You’ve heard this phrase before. Often repeated by parents regarding their little boys. So what makes a boy, a boy? Rambo like characteristics? Muscles? Short hair? Wearing blue? Wearing T-shirts and jeans or playing with sporting equipment? Well last I remember, the main characteristics boys shared were penises. The role gender association play in the lives of our children can sometimes affect them negatively. The messages that gender roles send, is that in order to be part of society, you must fit into the norm or the status quo or most importantly what society eems as acceptable.

But all the while, trying to incorporate individuality and establishing ones sense of self. Two conflicting ideas that can confuse a child and also alter the way they live their lives. There are two colors that are designated to babies that serve one purpose and one purpose only. Most infant boys were the color blue and girls wear pink. Seeing that it is difficult to determine the sex of an infant without general exposure to the genitals, most parents choose to clothe they’re young child in the respective colors so people will know whether it is a boy or a girl.

After all, what male infant wears pink? When the children grow older, do they still continue the practice the color identification game? This is wear it changes. When boys reach the age wear they start dressing themselves and start buying their own clothes, they will continue to wear the blues and the greens and even yellows and reds, but not pink or violet, cause those are “girly” colors. Girls on the other hand, when they reach the same age still continue to wear the pink and violets and can even wear the blues, yellows, blacks, and greens.

So why can irls make the “cross-over” without being teased or mocked but boys cant without being called a gay or a fagot. The clothing issue goes farther than that. The fashion industry does make boundaries with clothing. There is women’s clothing and men’s clothing. Women can wear men’s clothing, and at times its the stylish thing to do. Young girls can dress like boys or wear boys clothing and at times will only be called a tom-boy, but that is acceptable to society. Let’s see a man in public wearing a dress, and we stop and go out of our way to break our necks just so we can get a good look.

Some even have the nerve to yell obscenities and gossip out loud. Most people don’t mock ethnic men for wearing ethnic clothing that highly resembles dresses or skirts, so why doesn’t American society accept it with non-ethnic men that do it cause they want to. As much as fashion and clothing affect the way our children think and act, much of that is advertised through their toys and the entertainment business. When I was a young girl, my parents never bought me basketballs, baseball mitts,water guns, GI JOE figurines (notice that I say GI JOE figurines not GI JOE dolls), or video games.

Instead I received frilly dresses, board games, water balloons, and Barbie dolls. I know I’m not alone. Millions of girls received the same things I did and many boys received similar gifts growing up as well. Many girls were scolded for playing with boys toys because mommy and daddy said, “Those toys are for boys, go play with your dolls. ” Parents just didn’t want to see their “sugar and spice and everything nice” turn into a tom-boy. Have you wondered why young girls grow up and are very good with children and are often chose as baby-sitters over boys, and ultimately become good mothers.

Many say it’s that motherly instinct and the bond mothers build with their child while they are still in the womb, but that alone, doesn’t explain how they are able to take care of the baby and care to the baby’s needs. Have you ever wondered why males arrant for the most part very good with children? It is because they weren’t allowed to play with dolls. When children are at the age of two to seven, that is the period of their lives where they will learn the most information.

That is about the age gap where many boys would like to play with dolls but are discouraged especially by their fathers to do so. If they are allowed to play with dolls, they learn how to care for the dolls and treat them well, and those are the practices females carry on into motherhood. Surpassingly, in a class room experiment done with a doll called Baby, Think Again, which is a computerized doll, which is programmed to cry at certain times of the day for certain reasons, male participants were vary successful with their “child”.

The computer can tell someone how many times the baby cried, what the”mother/father” didn’t or did do correctly. Orland Richard’s from Project Promise, a program geared towards adolescence, said that when he comes into the classroom and tells his students that 65% of males who impregnate their girlfriend arrant there to help with the baby after their birth and he tells them that they have a responsibility, they try so much harder and care for their “baby” more intensely than some of the young women in the class because they have so much to prove.

They come in the next day and wait for me tom open the computer to see if the lights are blinking, and they arrant. They even say, See Mr. Richards, I can be a good father. ‘ The funny thing is that they even come back the next day and say, Hey, Mr. Richards, can I have the same baby again tonight, you know, the one that looks like me! ‘ That makes me feel so good inside, and there will be one less single mother in the world. ” Why it is so hard to communicate with someone of the opposite sex?

Is it really the genetically make up, X and Y chromosomes, or is it that we really truly think differently? We really do think differently. I know that many parents encourage little girls not to play with the boys because they feel that type of social interaction wouldn’t be appropriateonce they reach puberty, especially when they become aware of sex and relationships. So this sort of separation contributed to the lack of communication between the sexes.

If cross-gender interaction and communication was encouraged, perhaps boys and girls would grow up knowing how to be sensitive to eachothers needs and also learn more about eachother which would help them understand what it takes to make healthy and long lasting relationships. It also affects how each sex conducts public communication and who the environment they are most comfortable speaking in. ” Men speak to convey information, to challenge others, to achieve status in a group, or to put themselves in a “one-up” situation.

Many women, on the other hand, feel more comfortable with private conversations among friends and family. They talk to achieve and nurture intimacy, to promote closeness and equality in a group, and to build better connections to others. “(Tannen). Although the gender differences exist in communication, it doesn’t mean that one is superior to the other or one is at fault. It is important that we are able to recognize these differences because it can only help “… overcome potential obstacles to their mutual understanding and acceptance. ” (Hales).

One of the greatest influences on children is the entertainment industry. They show us what they feel are the images we should shape ourselves after. They promote beauty, material possessions, money and power. Look at the magazines that are aimed at youngwoman such as Seventeen, YM, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Madamoiselle, and Glamour. The list is endless. The all show young girls, how to apply their make-up, the season’s “must have” wardrobe, horoscopes, and the perfect look. Young girls have died trying to achieve “the look” that society sees as beautiful.

Young girls are told they must be beautiful, slender, and the object of a man’s desire. As corrupt as it sounds, entertainment media thrives on this and goes as far as they can to make sure they reach every young girl across the world. Look at the magazines aimed at young boys, there is a totally different theme eing carried out. Most boys magazines are comic, sport, and action orientated. The message is totally different. They model they way they dress according to their favorite musicians, actors or sports figure.

Perhaps if women’s magazines were more aimed at how to protect yourself from violence, STD’s, unplanned pregnancies or how to be confident, and promote education, sports, extra-cirricular activities instead of how to know if your popular, or the must have lipstick of the fall, or how to know if he likes you, or what your avorite BACKSTREET BOY likes and dislikes, then maybe the rate of abortions, teen pregnancies, STD’s, obesity, eating disorders, depression, date rape, kidnappings and domestic violence would decrease. Whether they like it or not, society has a responsibility.

They deem what is acceptable, it is time they deem what is right! There are some positive aspects of gender roles that even I like and wish was still implemented as a part of daily living and modern courtship. It is good to see that many men still open the car doors for their ladies, take them out to dinner and a movie, and initiate contact between the two. Although it is the 90’s and we are approaching the millennium, and women are being more and more independent and paying the bills and initiating first contact, I feel that it was something has shaped them when they were younger and to this day makes them independent and free.

It’s a good to know that some women don’t expect their male partners to pay for everything. The most negative affect applying gender roles to the way you raise your children is that children are motivated to find their own identity. Parents often tell their children to think for themselves or be their own person but they don’t understand that when they ombard their children with certain practices, they are sending a mixed message. Yes, its a message most children are to young to understand but its not the children who need their eyes opened, its the parents.

Many children, upon reaching adolescence are able to see past the stereotypes and figure out who they are, what they like or dislike, and what is right and what is wrong, but its what they go through that is dangerous. When there is no support system there fore the child, they will go through psychological problems and often look towards food or vigorous activity and suffer from eating disorders and depression and some commit suicide. All because they weren’t able to play the role their parents molded for them.

This essay isn’t to be taken personally, or applied to everyone’s life. I, in certain cases probably take part in some of these gender role activities but the important thing is that I understand and am able to observe what is going on and what can happen. I’m am in no way implying that making your infant son wear blue is bad and if he wears pink as he gets older, it your fault. I know that I probably wouldn’t be to happy about the fact that my little boy is wearing pink either, but its how you approach and deal with the situation he can have an effect on your child.

Many parents would probably tell their children this type of situation, ” Pink is for girls, take it off. What are you gay or something. Are you a sissy? Act like a boy. ” (Finaut) It is brought upon so negatively and makes the child feel low and incompetent, especially if they are told this by their fathers. Not everyone will agree with my point of view and that is something I understand, but its all about being open-minded which is obviously not the message gender roles send.

Female Gender Bias in Schools

Sadker and Sadker (1994) reported a startling fact that few people realize. Today’s girls continue a three-hundred year-old struggle for full participation in America’s educational system. During colonial times school doors were closed for young women seeking knowledge, and the home was considered the learning place for young women. The home, serving as the girls’ classroom, was where young girls learned the practical domestic skills for their inevitable role as wife and mother.

However, in 1767 a school in Providence, Rhode Island, began advertising it would teach reading and writing to girls. At the bottom of the advertisement, in small print, was noted the inconvenient hours of instruction. The girls were being taught either before or after the boys’ regular instructional time. At this time the teachers of the boys needed additional income and opted to teach girls before and after school for an awesome fee. Thus, the idea of educating girls was formulated (Sadker & Sadker, 1994).

During the early nineteenth century, many cities began establishing separate high schools for girls. Most communities built one high school, but designated separate entrances for the sexes. The classes were on separate floors in single-sex areas where girls were taught by women and boys by men. Single-sex schools were now born! Following a considerable amount of frustration from attempting to receive an education at male-dominated colleges, men and women created a bold alternative–colleges for women. Finally, in 1972, a historic victory was achieved.

Congress enacted Title IX as part of the Education Amendments. The preamble (Valentin, 1997) to Title IX states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any educational programs or activity receiving federal assistance” (p. 1). Miraculously, a federal law made sex discriminations in schools illegal. Under Title IX, sex bias was outlawed in school athletics, career counseling, medical services, financial aid, admission practices, and the treatment of students.

From elementary school through the university, Title IX violators were threatened with the loss of federal funds (Sadker & Sadker, 1994). Title IX legislation changed the mode of operation in our schools. Better athletic programs for girls were instituted. Teachers began to carefully analyze books and resource materials for bias. As the 1970s came to an end, high hopes for Title IX ending gender bias mounted. However, many schools simply did not take this law seriously. In many schools vocational programs remained segregated with cosmetology and secretarial courses only for women and electrical and automotive courses only for men.

In other schools, pregnancy was grounds for the expulsion of the teenage mothers, but not teenage fathers. Complaints were lodged, and paperwork was piled high (Sadker & Sadker, 1994). During the budget cuts and staff realignment of the 1980s under the Reagan-Bush administration, the heart of the equality movement was stopped. Between 1972 and 1991 not one school in the United States lost a single penny of federal funds due to gender bias. However, Valente and Valente (2001) cited two Supreme Court decisions where boards of education were held liable for the violation of Title IX provisions.

The Supreme Court acknowledged in Franklin v. Gwinnet County Public Schools et al. (1992) and Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education (1999) that institutions could be held liable for individuals in those institutions who participated in discriminatory behavior toward females. During the 25th anniversary year, Valentin (1997) reported the following Title IX accomplishments: * From 1972 to 1995 college women athletes increased from 15 percent to 37 percent. * In 1996, girls constituted 39 percent of high school athletes, compared to 7. percent in 1971.

Between 1971 and 1994 college enrollment of female high school graduates increased from 43 percent to 63 percent. * Between 1971 and 1994 bachelor degrees earned by females rose from 18 percent to 27 percent. * In 1994, women received 38 percent of the medical degrees, compared with 9 percent in 1972; 43 percent of the law degrees, compared with 7 percent in 1972; and 44 percent of all doctoral degrees, compared to 25 percent in 1977. The gender bias movement has taken root in America, and with or without a beating heart, it continues.

Gender Inequalities Encouraged Gender equity in education is the elimination of sex role stereotyping and sex bias from the educational process, thus providing the opportunity and environment to validate and empower individuals as they make appropriate career and life choices (Hilke & Conway, 1994). Therefore, gender bias in education can be defined as treating boys and girls differently in schools. This includes how teachers respond to students, what students are encouraged to study, and how textbooks and other resources represent gender roles.

A study commissioned by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) in 1992 entitled “Shortchanging Girls; Shortchanging America” synthesized much earlier research and concluded that the average school is biased against girls in a number of ways. The study found that girls did not receive as much attention from teachers as boys, and boys were called upon to answer more abstract and complex questions than girls. Instead, all too often, female high school students focused on their bodies and neglected their minds. Early differences in the treatment of girls and boys can result in enduring learning patterns.

Skolnick (1982) reported that children spend more time with their teachers than any other adult with the exception of their parents. Consequently, teachers’ expectations and actions have a profound effect on student achievement as well as self-esteem. What teachers say and do not say, their body language, what they do and who they call upon, form a hidden curriculum that is more powerful than any textbook lesson. Sadker and Sadker (1994) stated the self esteem of elementary girls remained high even though they received less time, less help, and fewer challenges from the teachers.

However, the constant reinforcement for passivity results in a decline in their independence and self-esteem. Sadker and Sadker concluded, as victims of benign neglect, girls are penalized for doing what they should and lose ground as they go through school. After 25 years of research, documentation reveals numerous examples where girls are denied opportunities to excel in the classroom. The sexism is subtle, and the bias very often is unconscious. Girls are rewarded for their conformity to classroom rules by simply being ignored, thus they pay a huge price for their compliance.

Sex segregation, both during play and in the classroom, polarizes the sexes and contributes to female invisibility. Well-meaning teachers often think they protect girls by this separation when, in fact, they encourage stereotypical patterns of passivity in girls and aggression in boys (Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, 1992; Sadker & Sadker, 1984, 1994). Despite the loss of confidence and voice, the most profound effects of gender bias are evident in today’s high schools.

During adolescence many girls become over-socialized to contemporary stereotypical definitions of “femininity. ” The messages they receive from the popular culture and media cause many girls to become preoccupied with physical appearance and perfection. Many of the models which appear in leading fashion magazines today are commonly 23 percent below normal body weight. Eating disorders, once considered prevalent among young women on college campuses, are now common among high school girls. It has been estimated that as many as 66 percent of high school girls are engaged in dieting.

The stress of dieting and appearance undoubtedly uses energy that is necessary for learning in school (Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, 1992; Pipher, 1994; Sadker & Sadker, 1994). Keyes (1976) interviewed adults that attended high school during the 1970s, and found that being popular was a top priority for girls. This was also true in the 1960s, when James Coleman conducted his classic study, The Adolescent Society. Sadker and Sadker (1994) found that in our present society, many girls think that being intelligent conflicts with popularity.

High school dreams consist of the following: to go to the prom with the right date; to be a cheerleader; to be chosen as most popular; and to be elected class officer. During most of the twentieth century an invisible line dissected the courses offered in our nation’s high schools. In the division of curricular, home economics was a female field, preparing girls for their roles as wives and mothers, while shop was reserved for boys. Women considered incapable of learning math and science when they were girls were written off by both teachers and parents and bear the scars of sexist schooling (Sadker & Sadker, 1994).

Finally, girls are now learning the lessons that math matters. Girls are at last staying in math courses longer. Often school counselors harm young girls when they only want to help. Feeling sorry for girls enrolled in math and science courses, which they find difficult, school counselors often dismiss girls. This dismissal is less likely to be offered to male students. Young girls, though, tend to neglect to realize the high cost of their math/ science course dismissal.

When girls self-select out of math, science, and computer technology, they are making decisions that will affect the rest of their lives (Sadker & Sadker, 1994). While girls appeared to gain ground in the sciences between 1960 and 1980, there is evidence that this trend is reversing. It is well documented that something occurs between junior high and high school that causes girls to lose interest, perceive science, mathematics, and computer technology as masculine endeavors and opt out of more difficult courses (Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, 1992; Chapman, 1997; Sadker & Sadker, 1994).

Denied their history, discouraged from taking crucial courses that lead to key careers, concluding that the appearance of their bodies may be worth more than the quality of their minds, realizing they are not the gender of choice, and doubting their intelligence and ability, high school girls make the journey from adolescence to womanhood. It is abundantly clear that they pay a steep price for their passage (Sadker & Sadker, 1994). Practical Solutions Achieving equity will require more than gender-balanced textbooks and gender-fair teaching practices.

The traditional curricula should be transformed to include the contributions, experiences, and scholarship of women. Boxer (1989) and Reis (1990) pointed out the considerable time needed for significant change to occur in educational practices, and the need for systematic support for effective implementation. However, the authors believe that teachers and educational leaders do have the ability to create transformative classrooms. Epp (1995) found the lack of women in leadership positions did not create a positive image for girls.

For example, a female teacher with a male principal sends a powerful message to girls about their leadership capabilities and their position in society. In 1995, only 19 percent of all principals at a secondary level were female. Despite many qualified female applicants in the job pool, females are often overlooked for leadership positions. Teacher education programs contribute to the problem. Rarely do students in teacher education programs receive gender equity training and instruction in gender-balanced teaching strategies.

Teachers need to learn how to identify gender equity in instructional materials as well as learn about specific scholarship and contributions made by women in their content areas. Teachers who receive this training may become important change agents once they arrive in the classroom (Eckert & Tracy, 1995; Sanders, 1996). To achieve equity educators should begin the process early in the lives of girls. Guidance counselors and vocational educators need to provide career information to girls when they are in elementary school.

Self-perception of ability in mathematics, science, and technology has been found to be a high predictor of course selection and of choosing these areas as major fields of study. The relationship between self-esteem and success in these fields appears to be circular. Girls need female role models as mentors and opportunities to interact with women in the community who work in technical and nontraditional fields (Kane, 1991). It must no longer be acceptable to parents or guidance counselors for students to opt out of difficult science or mathematics classes.

Students in China and other countries which require these courses do not perform differently by gender. Teachers must encourage girls as much as boys to pursue rigorous courses. Parents can increase science achievement by providing their daughters with science-related experiments at home, toys that are mechanical in nature, and science-related excursions (Kahle & Meece, 1994). Educators can help parents become aware of the impact of the culture and teach them to empower their daughters with their support and active involvement (Baldwin & Kielbaso, 1990).

Parents begin treating their female and male children differently as soon as they enter the world. This is reflected in several ways: (a) the way parents hold and plan with their children as infants, (b) the toys, books, television programs, and activities their children are exposed to as toddlers, and (c) the type of encouragement children receive when trying new activities (Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, 1992; Sadker & Sadker, 1994).

Chapman (1997) and Hammrich (1997) recommend to parents that they should provide girls with puzzles, building blocks, and teach them to use common household tools as prerequisite skills needed for science (Chapman, 1997; Hammrich, 1997). Conclusion It is imperative to spotlight the cost of gender equity to society and to change the instructive strategies used in all schools. Educators must take the responsibility to expand and enhance commitments to gender equity. Presently, the need for qualified scientists and engineers can not be met.

Therefore, the norm in the schools must include enticing female students to pursue the sciences. To understand the position of girls and women in education requires an understanding of changing structures and complex processes and a commitment to breaking down the barriers which continue to result in female disadvantage. If America is to hold the best possible future for our people and civilization, she cannot afford to waste a primary resource–our nation’s girls and women.

Today’s Male Essay

For the most part, societies (a group of people which have common traditions, interests and institutions) have a large impact on the development of gender. Children grow up to learn from their parents, their neighbor, the baker down the road and it is this understanding of the world which constructs their lives. There is socialization in general (the learning that neophytes do in order to become functioning members of society), and [there is] gender socialization in particular (the processes through which people learn to be feminine and masculine) (Mackie, 1987:74).

This research paper will deal with men in three fundamental areas of their lives: work, intimate relationships and family. To do this, the paper will only deal with men who have gone through socialization in general and who are in the changing process of gender socialization. An infant or child has a crucial need for experience with other human beings for its survival as a physical being and its development as a social being (Mackie, 1987:77). In most societies, for the large part, males have grown up learning or expected to be a dominant figure, one with the power and independence (Doyle, 1989:108).

In today’s modern society, males are not only affected by family, friends or neighbors; they are now heavily influenced by other mediums, such as, TV, music, movies, sports, books (fairy tales), and magazines. These are but a few influences which help shape the modern male. Men in the Workplace: Work occupies on average 40 hours a week, it therefore plays a considerably large role in peoples’ lives. The Feminist movement showed, along with other issues, that it was the environment and structure of the workplace, which affected society a great deal. The Feminist movement highlighted the harsh reality of gender inequality in our society.

Consequently, there seems to be an overwhelming consensus that males dominate, and have always dominated in the workplace. The reason for this unbalanced structure, as James Doyle suggests, seems to have validity when one looks at male’s extreme sense of competitiveness. Competition and winning are considered masculine characteristics in our society (Doyle, 1989:168). However, competition allows for only one winner. This competitive spirit forces men to think that everything of value and worth in the world is limited or comes in fixed quantities (Doyle, 1989:169).

If men grow up learning that competition and independence (as mentioned earlier) is masculine, then having a job and providing, validates men. Men will compete at all costs to provide the best for his family. Being a good provider stipulates that the more goods a male provides for his family’s material well-being, the more successful (that is, masculine) he is (Doyle, 1989:173). Perhaps males assertion of masculinity through their job is a defense, a way of insisting on the exclusion of women to protect specific jobs and more general job skills from increased competition (women) (Nelson & Robinson, 1995:183).

Men not only have to compete with other males, but now have to compete with women at the workplace, this in turn applies tremendous pressure on today’s male. Because of this pressure, politics, sexuality, family responsibilities, and intimate relationships between the two genders have become more tenuous. Males in Intimate Relationships: Men do not want to lose at their job and they bring this mentality into their intimate relationships. This makes men less likely to express their feelings; he would be weak or unmanly if he did so.

If men view themselves as independent, then he is less practised at recognizing others’, and consequently his own emotions (Buchbinder, 1987:55). For many men, sex focuses these feelings and becomes the only manner of expressing them (Buchbinder, 1987:55). Relationships today are demanding, they are to be equal in all aspects; men are asked to be more expressive, have more involvement in childcare (as we will see later), and equality in domestic work (Buchbinder, 1987:60). In fact, husbands generally have more power and influence in a marriage than wives do (Doyle, 1989:246).

Although men have more power, many men feel compelled to ‘bad mouth’ marriage, often with fellow married friends (Doyle, 1989:248). Despite this apparent inconsistency, men seem to benefit from relationships more than do women (Doyle, 1989:248). According to Doyle, there are several benefits from an intimate relationship. The three obvious ones are: the husband gains the services of someone–the wife–to cook, clean, and do the daily chores around the house; the wife acts as a kind of socioemotional bridge between her husband and others; and physical health care (Doyle, 1989:248-9).

Simon Davis reiterates this point in his essay, Men as Success Objects and Women as Sex Objects: A Study of Personal Advertisement; an exchange process may be in operation, wherein a trade-off is made with women offering ‘domestic work and sex for financial support’ (Nelson & Robinson, 1995:250) Men have been, and for a large part still are, socialized to bring in the money, whereas women have been, and still partially are, socialized to take care of the children at home.

This unjust socialization in general of the two genders, results with an economic dependence on the male. Further still, the effect of this inequality [that is, women’s desire to work outside the home and earn money] is the primary cause of marriage break down (Buchbinder, 1987:52). Males in the Family: The best way to start this section is to use the words of Ralph LaRosa: The consensus of opinion in American society is that something has happened to American fathers.

Long considered minor players in the affairs of their children, today’s fathers often are depicted as major parental figures, people who expected to–people who resumably want to– be there when their kids need them. Unlike their own fathers or grandfathers, many are prone to say. (Nelson & Robinson, 1995:365 [emphasis in original]) Most research shows that in the past, men were seen as a protectors and providers, but they now are expected to be more involved in the dynamics of the family.

The notion that a father played anything more than a ‘peripheral’ role in his children’s socioemotional development seemed quite absurd (Doyle, 1989:254). Dinah Forbes claims that the reason for today’s fathers’ increased involvement in childcare is, for the most part, due to the extremely influential movement of Feminism (Buchbinder, 1987:60). Having the two parents involved in a child’s upbringing becomes an extremely important force in [its’] development (Doyle, 1989:254).

But LaRosa states, fatherhood is different today than it was in prior times but, for the most part, the changes that have occurred are centered in the culture rather than in the conduct of fatherhood (Nelson & Robinson, 1995:375). In LaRosa & LaRosa’s study (1981) of the transition to parenthood, they found that the father’s levels of engagement, accessibility, and responsibility were only a fraction of the mothers’, and that fathers tended to spend a greater part of their caregiving time playing with their children (Nelson & Robinson, 1995:371).

Men seem to think playing catch or swinging their kids will do the job but, often this is not enough. Men see] fatherhood as a job and that while [they were] ‘there’ in body, [they are] someplace else in spirit (Nelson & Robinson, 1995:371). Implications and Conclusion: One of the factors encouraging for change in a father’s role in his child’s care has been the large numbers of wives who have entered the paid employment force, making it essential that husbands and fathers share more child care responsibilities (Doyle, 1989:254) One reason for the larger number of wives entering the job market is the insufficient income of a single wage.

The consequences of one gender having control in most aspects of contemporary life from building codes, tax laws and health care plans to access to the labor market and wage levels, are absolutely absurd (Nelson & Robinson, 1995:181). The implication for this statement is the need for gender equality. This has been made obvious by Feminists world wide, although the Movement began with a strong general agreement of sexual dissatisfaction among women. However, as long as men view Feminism and its movement as a challenge, then it is hopeless.

In other words, men have to want to change. While this may hold true, changes have begun during which men seem to be getting pushed along, and may continue to view it as something that just has to be done. Men have much to lose; his independence and self worth are at stake (Buchbinder, 1987:12). If this is true, he will then be less apt to changes. Males have become accustomed to having this power and sense of autonomy, and as some may say these feminists come along and expect to change things so quickly.

Although there is, in fact, inequality between genders, we can conclude that there is a desire and need for change. Equality is not, as Forbes argues, simply a matter of reorganizing [the] practical responsibilities. It also involves reorganizing responsibility for the emotional work of developing and maintaining an intimate relationship (Buchbinder, 1987:61). Equality at the individual level will flourish and thus take effect with the outer levels, such as the workplace. Males must demonstrate as much compassion and willingness as women do for the male/female relationship, or there will be no change.

Transvestitism report essay

In the last few decades, there has been a rapid change in social attitude towards so-called sexual problems. There has been a call for the freedom to live in the style of which one chooses, so long as no one else is harmed in the process. One area that appears little understood, however, is transvestitism, or cross-dressing. In order to gain some knowledge about this phenomenon, there are many aspects of transvestitism that should be examined, some being: history, societal views, the gay versus straight issue, and women dressing as men.

Transvestitism has a long history, ranging from mythical figures to medieval saints who cross-dressed; from the many instances of berdache in anthropological literature to historical figures such as the most famous eighteenth century French transvestite, Chevalier d’Eon (Bullough, 1993). There are countless examples of this in Greek Theater; the public theater of England, including Shakespearean plays; Kabuki and Noh theaters in Japan, and the Chinese opera. For years, it was considered immoral for women to act in theater, so men assumed the roles of female characters.

Even after it became acceptable for women to enter acting, there are many cases of crossdressing in film. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon donned full women’s garb in Some Like It Hot (1959), Cary Grant, in Bringing Up Baby (1938), and Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie (1983). Women have been known to get into the crossdressing act in film and theater as well, with the role of Peter Pan traditionally played by a woman. Marlene Detrich and Josephine Baker were also known to occasionally dress for the stage in full tuxedo, top hat and tails included.

More recently, cross-dressing has been seen in popular culture, with, among many others, drag diva RuPaul, the movie, The Crying Game (1992), and, as an example of female to male crossdressing, singer Madonna. This gives a sense that transvestitism and performing are interrelated, not merely “historically” or “culturally,” but psychoanalytically, through the unconscious and through language. (Garber, 1992) To Marjorie Garber, this represents a notion that there is a naturalness to this behavior, since the common theme crosses so many boundaries, including time.

It does seem as if society is tolerant of the idea of cross-dressing for art’s sake. However, what about cross-dressing in everyday life? Webster (1972) defines transvestitism as “the adoption of the dress and often behavior of the opposite sex. ” Seems harmless enough. Why, then are most cross-dressers secretive about their affection for this? According to Dr. Peggy Rudd (1995), most are secretive, because they have many fears related to the consequences of having their “big secret” discovered. In general, non-participants do not consider transvestitism, socially acceptable.

Many cross-dressers fear the detrimental effects upon other family members, and many are concerned about the possibility of losing their job as a result of “coming out. ” Some cross-dressers feel guilty because society has placed them into stereotypes, including the incorrect assumption that all cross-dressers are gay, or that all transvestites are potential transsexuals. To the contrary, while some are gay, most cross-dressers want to share their life with a woman, and the number of gay males is far less among crossdressers than among the general population (Rudd, 1995).

Most identify primarily as a male who has, and retains, male gender identity. Often they are married, and the father of children. (Prince, 1971) This in itself presents the question of whether or not to tell spouses, and/or, their children about this. Many do not, out of fear of being seen as deviant, and perhaps losing those most dear to them. It is a natural thing for cross-dressers to want to share all of themselves with those they love, but as there is risk of rejection, many choose to wait until they feel comfortable that the risk has lessened, or keep it a secret forever.

Fear is not the only reason for the secrecy exhibited by transvestites. Many have feelings of shame. According to Garber (1992), many cross-dressers start early in life. Often they are told it is wrong to express feminine characteristics as a male, no matter how natural it may seem, and thus begin to mask the behavior. Many people convey the belief that the cross-dresser is in need of counseling or psychiatric treatment to find a “cure” for this aberrant behavior (Rudd, 1995). Due to this, the dominant judge and jury is frequently found from others rather than from within the individual.

Cross-dressers may become confused because they feel a high and perhaps erotic pleasure from wearing women’s clothes. Many do seek psychological help to understand the emotions of both guilt and pleasure that tend to accompany this. However, good counselors and psychiatrists realize that there is not, or even necessarily need be, a cure. They, therefore, provide help not to change the person, but to change the cross-dresser’s way of adjusting to a possibly hostile social environment.

Ideally, after examining these feelings, the cross-dresser will begin to develop a self-awareness and become comfortable with their true self, despite social opinion. This self-awareness and acceptance is the most important hurdle to overcome before letting others in on this way of life (Garber, 1995). Dr. Peggy Rudd, author of Crossdressers: And Those Who Share Their Lives (1995) is also the wife of a crossdresser. Upon first learning of her husband’s secret, she admits to feelings of resistance and negativism.

She did not relish the idea of spending the rest of her life with someone who went against social norms and her own social conditioning. As she had no knowledge of his crossdressing prior to marriage, she felt resentful of what she perceived as “an unwelcome, and uninvited dilemma. ” Rudd had to make the conscious decision to look beyond outside influences, and her ideology, and thus finally leaned toward empathy and compassion. She soon came to realize that her husband had not chosen crossdressing either, and also felt pain.

With this realization, Dr. Rudd was able to view crossdressers as a group of people who deserved respect and understanding. Despite the possibility of losing one’s spouse as a result of sharing this lifestyle, there are several cases, as in Dr. Rudd’s, where spouses not only accept cross-dressing and the associated behavior, but claim the relationship with the husband has grown more strong and connected upon learning of it. They believe the man can more relate with their feelings, and enjoy the feminine traits that may come about, such as compassion, tenderness and nurturing, often not expressed by men.

Once the barrier of his secret life is lifted, a more open and honest relationship ensues. Some women not only accept crossdressing and the associated behavior but also seek out males having those needs and traits and actively participate in the “game”—sometimes with each partner reversing roles in both social and sexual situations. Many transvestites describe the longing to dress in a feminine way as the ultimate way to emulate and, thus, express their love and appreciation for women.

They see themselves as a group of normally heterosexual men who admire and envy women so much that they greatly enjoy the opportunity to temporarily leave their everyday masculinity behind and “enter the fascinating world of femininity” (Prince, 1971) It is not unusual for the transvestite to use items of women’s apparel as aids for sexual gratification in the early stages of sexual awakening (Bullough, 1993). The apparel becomes a symbol of the longed for female sex partner.

This practice may continue into late adulthood, with an item such as a bra or panties becoming a fetish item required to be worn for, or at least close by, during completion of a sex act. Sex, however, is just one aspect of the pleasure derived by transvestites, either gay or straight. Many cherish the escape from their expected gender role just as much. In an article by Matthew Gilbert (1993) RuPaul stated: “It is not a sexual fetish for me. Drag is the ultimate in power dressing. When you’re in drag, any drag, you become the God of your imagination, and that’s powerful medicine, baby. With my drag, I encompass both male and female.

I become a microcosm of the whole universe, the yin and the yang, and people pick up on that and are enthralled by the power. That’s what got me addicted in the first place. ” Garber (1995) believes that transvestitism has become more prevalent in the media because “the current roles of men and women in society, maleness and femaleness and personality, are all very much under question. ” More women are “wearing the pants” in the family, and more men are becoming more hand on with child rearing. Although this may be true, it does seem as if a woman assuming characteristics of a man is much more accepted than that of the reverse.

In the 1950s, Mary Tyler Moore caused much controversy by wearing Capri pants on “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” and even then was allowed by the studio to wear them during only one scene per show. In the 1970s, women rebelled from typical gender roles by burning their bras, often seen as a symbol of gender restraint. These are just two examples of how women have changed views enormously over the years. It is now common for women to adopt traditional male clothing for everyday wear. It is a rare double standard, with women being accepted in this behavior, and often even encouraged for breaking gender barriers, whereas men still are not.

Fetishistic cross-dressing in women, however, is so rare it is almost nonexistent (Stoller, 1992). Dr. Stoller did extensive research on the subject, and was able to site only one case study in which Gutheil (1930) reported of a woman who admitted deriving sexual pleasure from the wearing of male apparel. The woman claimed that: “Simply putting on my suit can provoke an orgasm… The transvestiture has a far greater pleasure-value in my eyes than any intercourse, and I could easily forgo the latter in favor of the former. ” As previously stated, this case is a rare documentation of such.

Most women studied sited comfort as the main reason for preferring male clothing to female (Stoller, 1992). Sexual pleasure was seldom a factor. This may be one of the reasons for the before mentioned double standard. People generally do not view women wearing men’s clothing as sexual in nature, thus it is not considered deviant, and therefore more accepted. There appears to be several facets to transvestitism that may be overlooked at first glance. It is the subject of much controversy, and conflicting viewpoints. Throughout history, society has embraced cross-dressing in the form of art, however, shunned it in everyday life.

This may be viewed as hypocritical, especially with today’s more “liberal” and accepting attitudes. Transvestitism seems to be an unobtrusive way of life, yet is still viewed as a whole as deviant behavior. Practicing men often still feel the need to keep it secret from even those most close to them, so as not to risk ridicule and possible destruction to their business and personal lives. Lack of understanding and compassion may be at fault, and it looks as if time has done little to change this. It seems as if the old adage “live and let live” is quite appropriate for this lifestyle. Unfortunately, most of society has yet to adopt this view.

My Gender Role

When I was young I did not think about my gender role. I did not think about the day to day events in my life that effected my gender. When I look back I can find so many instances of gender in my life. So, I am taking one of the smallest instances because of the many ways it relates to not only gender building, but maintaining. As a child I remember very cold winters in Omaha. My sister and I loved to play outside in the snow. So, my parents bought us matching snowsuits. They were pink with lavender trim. My friend, Charlie, who lived up the street, had a snowsuit too.

His was black and red with a logo of a racecar on the back. As a child I never thought of the implications of my snowsuit. It was functional and I suppose I thought the color pink was pretty at the time. My room was pink, my bike was pink, and Barbies corvette was pink. Why should it be any other way? As I look back at the photographs of the three of us playing as children I see what implications the pink snowsuit had on my gender. Not only that but how we played together. All of us had hoods on our snowsuits to cover our ears.

With out the difference in the pink and black snowsuits you may have not been able to tell who the boy was and who the two girls were. My long blonde hair was pulled back under the hood and all of us had childlike chubby faces with big smiles. Charlie was always building big, macho, snow forts and my sister and I were making snow angels. The snow angels were pretty and soft, like the pink snowsuits. The snow fort was supposed to be tough, a boy thing. We could all play together, but even by age four, Charlie knew that making snow angels were not a tough thing to do so he refused.

He was going to make the fort to protect my sister and I. He was going to build something better and bigger. According to Lorber, social statuses, such as gender, must be constructed through teaching, learning, and enforcement. “Gender is thus both ascribed and achieved (West and Zimmerman 1987). So how is it that by age four, that we were constructed to know so much about what was supposedly masculine and what was supposedly feminine? There are different theories about how children are gendered.

“Most parents create a gendered world for their newborn by naming, birth announcements, and dress” (Lorber, p. ). Lorber believes that children are gendered from birth. This is easy to do in our social institution. Gender statuses are made very important in American society. The way people behave and act reflects not only upon the individual, but their families as well. Parents tend to want their new born baby girls to be described as delicate and beautiful. On the other hand, boys should be described as strong, handsome, and alert. Gendering starts even before a baby is born with the decorating of a room in light colors such a pink, blue and yellow.

Gendering does not end at childbirth; it is an ongoing process that develops thoroughly throughout our lives. Lorber makes a good point about the process of gendering; “individuals learn what is expected, see what is expected, act and react in expected ways, and this simultaneously maintain the gender order” (Lorber, p. 32). I, at four years old, was aware that I was not expected to build a big, tough fort. Everyone would think my dainty snow angels were precious and everyone would think Charlies fort was brilliant and tough.

By putting my sister and I in pink snowsuits my parents were making a point that we were girls. If I were to have worn Charlies black snowsuit my neighbors would have thought it was a hand me down from my brother. Even the way we interacted with each other show domination and gender roles. Charlie was strong and rough while my sister and I were docile and easy going. Charlie made the rules when we played and my sister and I followed them. In Sandra Bems book, The Lenses of Gender, she begins with the first lens, androcenterism.

It is stated as “male-centeredness” because it simply describes how society is structured (Sandra Bem, “Introduction to the Lenses of Gender, p. ). Mans experiences are seen as the norm and females experiences as not the norm. This does not necessarily mean that he is superior to her, but simply that “man is treated as human and woman as “other” (Bem, p. 2). Bem sees three different aspects of a womans relationship to a man. First, that men see womens difference from man and inferiority to man. Second, that man see womens domestic and reproductive function, as he will be the head of the household.

Third, that men see women as a way to satisfy their sexual needs. In the situation of girls building snow angels and boys building snow forts I thought androcentrism would have little relevance. But, in the tradition of American culture, Charlie was building the snow fort to protect us. He was making a shelter and was commended for his idea and hard work. If we look into the deeper meaning of what was happening, he was viewed as making something useful. My sister and I were viewed as making something pretty, and rather useless.

Therefore, supporting the idea that male experiences are normal and female experiences are not normal or as important as male experiences. Charlie took a role to protect us, almost like Bems second idea, that men see women as domesticated and he had his need to protect them and head up that household. Also, as in Bems first idea of how men view women, Charlie thought building the snow fort would be difficult, giving us girls the easier job. At the time, I did not feel inferior but it was inferior and we both knew better then to help with his big job of building the snow fort.

Charlie was proud of his massive creation, and my sister and I were proud of the angels scattered all over the lawn. But, to an outsider, it would seem that my sister and I were waiting for Charlie to get done so we could play in the fort he built for us. Lorber believes that as gendered beings we go along with these norms and expectations “to build a sense of worth and identity” (Lorber, p. 35). We have been taught that things like Bems view of antrocentrism is normal and that we have no need to stray from the reality that society gives us.

If we do we might be alienated, not desired, and end up alone. Bems second lens of gender is polarization. She defines this as the “male-female difference” (Bem p. ). She believes that the “male-female difference is superimposed on so many aspects of the social world that a cultural connection is forged between sex and virtually every other aspect of the human experience” (Bem, p. 2). In other words, the masculine way of doing something is usually seen as the correct way and it forms a societal norm. At age four, my gender was apparent to not only myself but also all of our neighbors and friends.

It has been said, that parents dress their children to display the category of girl or boy from birth so that they dont have to answer the question. What they dont realize is that they are marking their children for different treatment by society. “others treat those in one gender differently from those in the other, and the children respond to the different treatment by feeling and behaving differently” (Lorber, p. 14). Society, our parents, and our race mark us by gender. They do it by the clothes we wear and the activities we are involved in. We are seen as masculine or feminine.

Girls that have more masculine qualities are not seen as being masculine but instead, tomboys. Boys that have more feminine traits are not seen as feminine but instead, weak. We label the members of society based on their gender. Bems third lens of gender is “biological essentialism”. It views the other two lenses as natural because of biological differences (Bem, p2). This seems to influence our culture the most with the argument that men and women are biologically different sexually, then they must play different roles in life. Biology between men and women is different. No one denies that.

But it is history, not biology, which is determining the gender norms. Biology does not put little girls in pink and little boys in blue. Biology does not teach girls to build snow angels and boys to build snow forts. Accepting biology as the reason for gender norms is an easy way out. Bem puts it best when she says “No matter how many subtle biological differences there are between the sexes there may someday prove to be, both the size and the significance of those biological differences will depend, in every single instance, on the situational context in which men and women live their lives” (Bem, p. ).

Power by males in society has led to gender stratification, until people stop supporting it you can consider it androcentrism, biological essentialism or polarization. Any of them are good reasons as to why we are so gendered. But, until we get to the root of the problem, which lies in political power and our environment, not much can be done to change the norm. “Individuals are born sexed but not gendered, and they have to be taught to be masculine or feminine” (Lorber, p. ).

As a child, in my pink snowsuit, playing with my little sister and Charlie, I saw nothing wrong with the scenario. When I look back I see that the clothes we wore, the games we played and the way we interacted had us molded into our gender roles by a very young age. Gender began with our parents. I only hope that through education we can slowly break down the gender barrier through a new generation.

What influences a person’s identity

What influences a person’s identity? Is it their homes, parents, religion, or maybe where they live? When do they get one? Do they get it when they understand right from wrong, or when they can read, or are they born with it? Everyone has one and nobody has the same, is there a point in everyone’s life when they get one? A person’s identity is his own, nobody put it there and nobody can take it out. Everyone in this world has a different identity because they all make their own over the course of their life. A person’s identity also causes a person to have masculine and feminine traits.

There is no one thing that gives a person their identity, there are however many different factors that contribute to one’s identity. What is someone’s identity? Is it the way they look, the way they dress, or it could be many things all put together, or is it none of the above? To me someone’s identity is a part of their being. Nobody will ever hold it, touch it, or even see it, but it is there. Everybody has one, it guilds your decision making, your thoughts, ideas, and dreams. You may think something is terrible while someone else does not even care and yet another person may laugh, why?

The answer is simple, everyone has his own identity and personality. Everyone feels, acts, thinks, and dreams differently. People may have some of these things in common with one another, but they will not be totally the same, it is like a fingerprint, unique. There are many origins to a person’s identity, their family, friends, home life, religion, environment and others. But how does it get there, you do not go into a store and pick on off the shelf. A person’s identity is developed over many years and put together by the person themselves.

It comes from the individuals ability to think, reason and form an opinion. Nobody has the same mind, or the same or the same conscious, so how could anyone have the same identity as another. A person’s identity is developed over many years from the time they become aware of their surroundings, to the time they decide if they are going to college, and even as they grow old there identity will change with them. As people’s dreams are dreamed and goals are accomplished their identities will change with the individual. Their aspirations and values will change, causing their identities to change with it.

It may be a slight alteration or a major overhaul but there identity will adjust to the person. One of the factors of forming an identity will obviously be your family. One’s family if invaluable to them. Your family may not be your biological parents or ever a blood relative at all, but nobody in this world can live from birth without some one. But no matter who it is, they will be the people who take care of you when you are sick or aid you when you need help. These people will be there with you for a long time and yes they will have a major impact on what you turn out to be it the future.

A lot off people are fortunate enough to live with a mother and a father, they may ever have some brothers and sisters o play with as they grow up. But ever with the same family influences, brothers and sisters still do not have the same identities Some may even say having a traditional family would be bad for the development of an identity. For example, what kind identity would a young girl develop if see repeatedly saw her father beat on her mother. She would probably not feel the same as another girl whose father always showed love and caring for her mother.

What about a teenager who used drugs as often as he changed his underwear. Would his younger brother, in looking up to him, feel the same as another boy who grew up ever seeing an illegal drug before. If family members have no regard for keeping the other members of the family on the right path to being a good person, then what will they become. A large part of how someone turns out is due to the family. A good , solid, caring family may give rise to a kinder, gentler person than a family that does not care whether the children get into trouble.

Kids grow up seeing their parents and how they act, or not seeing their parents at all. Proper parenting will lead to better identities in there children. Gender is a major cause for a person’s identity. A person might act a certain way because of the gender that is given to them. It is often referred that a person might act a certain way because it is in their nature. A person’s nature is a major reason that causes a persons identity. A person might be mentally sick and just go crazy on people. This is part of the person’s nature, he is going to do what his nature compels him to.

A person’s nature might also influence a person to act like a man or a woman. A man might be a man but have feminine traits. This is the nature of his mind. Nature and identity also characterize how the person acts. The nature of someone might make someone act stronger in their own sex. Identity can be seen in even the youngest of children as soon a a child is ready to make their own decision, no matter how trivial the decision might be, the child is starting to create his or her own identity and define their own nature. This nature can be seen in children too.

One child’s nature might make a little girl act like a boy, also called a tomboy. This means that the girl just like to play with boys and do ‘boy’ things. While another girl, with a different mentality, might play with Barbie dolls and dress in a pink dress. Nature and identity might make a woman act the way that she does. In the stories The Astronomers Wife by Kate Boyle and A Respectable Woman by Kate Chopin the woman are defiantly feminine. Maybe they are too feminine for their husbands who seemingly cannot satisfy their women fully. If the husbands were doing their ‘job’ in the women would not be cheating on them.

The husbands seemingly cannot satisfy their women fully or they wouldn’t be interested in others. Either the women needs mental satisfaction or physical satisfaction. Another reason a woman would cheat on her husband is it might be part of her dentity, a part of who she is. In this case there probably is no chance that she will not cheat on her husband. A person’s nature might cause a person to want and need things that they already have. Why else would a man, who has a faithful wife for years, cheat on her wife someone whom he probably barely knows.

Siblings grow up together, they play together, and they have fun together. But eventually they will get there own friends and make there own decisions, this also leads to a person’s identity. Not all people like all the same things or people. Joe may be friends with Larry, and Larry may like Bob, but Joe may not like Bob. There is no reason to hate each other, they just do not mix. Friends also play a part in a person’s developing an identity, they are also a good indicator of one’s identity. Whether you hang around wall street all day or you work on your farm all day, may tell a little about your identity.

Neither is better than the other but they probably have different interests and likes. That does not mean they can not be friends and get along, they will just be different. A person’s religion can also play a big role in one’s identity. People who grow up belonging to a religion would be a lot more likely to continue on ith it when they grow older than someone who never believed in one, to start. Religion can have a rather large effect on a person forming an identity. If a person learns to treat others with respect and kindness as they were young, they may keep it with them as they turn into adults.

On the other hand a religion could have negative effects on a person’s identity. For instance, belonging to a cult that believes in sacrificing animals or even humans would not give a person a very nice identity. Especially when compared to a person who grew up as a practicing Roman Catholic. A person’s beliefs can easily lead person into making a decision, especially regarding ethics or kindness. The person growing up not caring about anything but themselves could easily make a different choice than a person that was taught to be respectful to other people.

However this is not always the case, religion can only work if the person decides to follow it and adhere to it. A person who goes to church every Sunday with their parents and does not care about it will probably not have a large religious effect on their identity, it may even cause the person to think who needs religion, it is useless. A person’s identity is his own, they make t and develop it however they choose to. Religion may play a part, or not, it may be bad or good, but the individual has the final say. Your environment does not just mean your outside surroundings, this also refers to your home.

People live en all kinds of homes and I do not mean a ranch or a cabin. Your home life is also your environment. Is it clean and neat or is it bug infested and dirty. Kids growing up in all kinds of homes will form different identities. Will they be neat freaks or will they not care how they live in their houses. It is a shame to see people living in filthy, run down places. The kids who come out of neat, clean homes would probably be different in how they look at dirt and grime. Do they care or not? Men and women are different because of society has set them up with.

It is observed for men to be strong and women to be weak. Also it is in the mentality of the person who is making the comparison to choose how a woman or man is supposed to think. For example one man might think women should be in the house all day making food, cleaning, and making babies. On the other hand another man might like to stay home and take care of the kids and the house while the wife works. In today’s society they are both acceptable but the second choice is becoming an ever more popular choice. Another mentality that a man might have is that all women are ‘sluts’ and ‘bitches’.

If this mode of thought is used then the person probably has very little respect for a woman. Many rap stars have this mentality about woman. Bitches ain’t sh*t but hoes and tricks… (Dr. Dre). This is a line from Dr. Dre’s album The Chronic. The is the type of thinking that might lead someone to think that all women cheat on their husbands. In the story The Astronomer’s Wife by Kate Boyle, the usband was asleep probably had no idea that his wife was about to cheat on him with the plumber it probably never even crossed his mind.

Also in A Respectable Woman by Kate Chopin, the wife tries to be honest and true but she has a lot of feeling for a man whom she does not really know. The husband trusts his wife greatly he wants her to be friends with his friend, but the wife has something different in mind. She wants the man sexually. The husband has no idea of her intentions. There are many reasons that make men and women act the way they do. It could be a number of possibilities but mostly is the ay they were raised. However with all these factors related to forming an identity the most important and most influential is the person themselves.

We see people every day, some whom we want to be like and some we hope we never turn out like. With all the other outside factors to guide and help or push and hamper, the individual has the last say. You are the only on who says what you want to be like over the course of your life. Nobody will ever get inside your mind and do the thinking for you. Nobody can influence you, you may feel as if you are being forced to do something but you do not have to do anything. You make the final decision. However you act, think, and speak is totally up to you.

People grow up all coming from all different kinds of places, backgrounds and families. They will all have different identities. Gender affects the decisions made by people. Their identity and the ‘nature’ of the person makes them act the way they do. Nobody is the same and nobody will ever be. All the outside influences will have an effect on their identities but the individual has the last word on it. Nobody is the same because each person will form his own identity to what ever they want to be like.

Gender Roles Essay

It has been prevalently believed, by professional and laypersons alike, that boys and girls in our society are socialized differently and in ways that encourage behavior consistent with our cultural definitions of appropriate sex role behaviors. Sex differences in the socialization differences of parents (mostly mothers) have been described and discussed by many researchers over the years. Maccoby and Jacklin (1974) offered the summary evaluation that the two sexes has revealed to our surprise little differentiation in parent behavior according to the sex of the children (Maccoby and Jacklin, 1966).

Despite these negative conclusions, however, the authors did find evidence that parents tend to “shape” their male and female children in sex-appropriate ways, by dressing them differently, by encouraging sex typed interests, by providing sex-appropriate toys, and by assigning sex-differentiated toys ( Hartley, 1964). Parental sex-typing behaviors, however, even narrowly defined when viewed in the context of self and sex role development, may be important.

For example, Whiting and Edwards (1975) described one process by which sex assigned chores may contribute to later behavioral differences noted between boys and girls. Citing data obtained from field studies in six cultures, noted that girls, more frequently than boys, are assigned domestic and childcare chores (looking after young children, cooking, cleaning, food preparation, grinding) and that girls are assigned responsibilities at an earlier age than boys.

Boys, in contrast, are assigned chores that take them from the immediate vicinity of the house, and are given responsibility for feeding, posturing, and herding animals. For boys and girls, these sex differences in assigned work are associated with different frequencies of interactions with various categories of people. Girls interact more often with both adults and infants, whereas boys interact significantly more often with peers. Whiting and Edwards suggest that to some extent the observed behavioral differences between boys and girls in the sample might be a function of sex distinctions in assigned chores.

Younger girls in all cultures were found to be significantly more nurturing (offering help and giving support) and significantly more responsible than boys. Viewed from another, quite different perspective, these parental shaping behaviors urge the child toward sex-appropriate interests, activities, tasks, and the like may be seen as labeling behaviors. According to the cognitive developmental theory of sex typing as explicated by Kohlberg (1966) and endorsed by Maccoby and Jacklin (1974), sex typing is initiated by the very early labeling of the child with respect to gender.

The gender labeling becomes an organizing becomes rubric around which the child actively, selectively, and with increasing complexity constructs a personal sex role definition. Through experience with parents, siblings, and peers, with the outside world, with the media, and with books, the child learns through a variety of techniques including enviornmental manipulation, tutoring and reinforcement; those responses, interests, activities, clothes, play materials, and tasks that are deemed consistent with sex categorization (Whicker and Kronenfeld , 1986).

Sex differentiated parental socialization practices, many of which are reinforced by other socializing agents, contribute to the divergent strategies developed by boys and boys to cope with discrepant experiences. The data from several sources agree that socialization behaviors manifest more frequently by parents of females who tend to foster proximity, discourage independent problem solving, restrict exploration, minimize contingency experiences, and discourage active play and experimentation in the physical world.

Because females are provided fewer opportunities for independent exploration and experimentation, because their toys encourage imitative play, because their play activities are more structured, and because proximity to mothers facilitates imitative behaviors, females are more likely to rely on existing structures in processing new inputs. In contrast, the socialization experiences of males appear to be less constraining of activity and more encouraging of exploration.

Because boys are given greater freedom to venture into the outside world, they are more often in a position to encounter situations that must be dealt with independently. These early experiences of males, which demand reexamination of premises, restructuring of understandings, and the construction of new schemata, many serve to prepare males for the less predictable, less structured world that will inhabit in their adult lives (Block, 1984). Another active area of research on female achievement grows out of cognitive and social psychology and is known as the attribution theory.

In the achievement literature generated by attribution theory, women seem to take less personal credit or responsibility for their achievement than men do. As greater empirical attention has been given to female attribution patterns, the observed results suggest the need for modification in the original hypothesis. An earlier investigation, influential in the development of an attribution theory of sex differences in achievement was Crandall, Kalovsky and Crandall’s 1965 study of adolescents between the ages of 11 and 17.

This study was one of the first to suggest that females become more anxious and concerned about failure as they progress through school and more likely to blame themselves rather than others for failure. More recent research has sought to document the came pattern, suggesting that males commonly attribute success to a stable internal factor (ability) and failure to external unstable factor (bad luck), whereas females appear to be less likely to credit themselves if they succeed (Bar-tal and Frieze, 1977).

O’Leary raises similar questions concerning the failure-related anxieties and attributions of failure among females in this research. She suggests that those behaviors may also represent a “defensive strategy used to avoid being held personally responsible for success or failure” (O’Leary, 1977). In general, sex differences research has been struggling with the construct validity problems arising from the use of self-reported measures. The designs used in attribution research studies often rely upon some form of self-report on the part of subjects.

Research on contemporary gender role stereotypes has reliably demonstrated that males are expected to show self-assurance while females are taught to present themselves in a self effacing fashion (Bem and Bem, 1970). This research also seems to hold true in the area of single-sex education. In little more than a decade, the number of universities and colleges dedicated to single-sex education has declined tremendously. During this period more than 50 percent of 300 women’s colleges in this country either became coeducational institutions or closed their doors.

Many of the remaining women’s colleges are currently reexamining their commitment to single-sex education and debating their future enrollment policies. The shift to coeducation among men colleges have been even more rapid, with more than 70 percent of former al male institutions becoming coeducational (Block, 1984). Many surveys from this area suggest that the recent shift toward coeducation may be disadvantageous for women, particularly for those with strong intellectual orientation.

This apparent sex-related difference in academic achievement as a function of educational context, if true, carves great educational and social implications. Changes in enrollment pollicies over the past decade have introduced new and selective factors associated with the choice of an undergraduate institution. The opportunity for intellectually gifted women to enroll in prestigious universities formerly accessible only to men, has introduced a new educational option for women that has changed the composition of student bodies in many institutions.

The recent efforts to redefine traditional conceptions of gender roles and to extend opportunities for women, the effects of affirmative action programs on admission policies of graduate and professional schools, and the changes in the number of women faculty members in both women’s colleges and coeducational institutions are additional factors that must be taken into account when conducting research to replicate the results of other studies (Healy, 1963 and Tidball,1973).

Gender Roles Essay

I have thought about many different ways to organize this paper and have come to the conclusion that the best way to approach the topic is on a book-by-book basis. My perceptions of the gender biases in these books vary greatly and I did not want to begin altering my views on each so that they would fit into certain contrived connections. What interests me most in these stories is how the authors utilize certain characters within their given environment.

Their instincts and reactions are a wonderful window into how the authors perceive these “people” would interact with their surroundings and often are either ewarded or punished by the author through consequences in the plot for their responses. Through this means we can see how the authors expect their characters to behave in relation to their post in the world. We must be very careful as readers to judge these biases based only on evidence within the text and not invent them from our own psyche due to the individual world we know.

In Louis Sachars award winning book Holes, we see gender biases in many characters. The first and most obvious bias in this book can be found in the way Sachars characters address Mr. Pendanski, one of the staff members at Camp Green Lake. Many of the boys refer to him sarcastically as “mom”, and it is not because of his loving nature. Mr. Pendanski is neurotic about things the boys consider trivial and he has a tendency to nag them. Because Mr. Pendanski is portrayed as the antithesis of Mr. Sir, who simply drips testosterone, others view him as a female for his weakness.

The fact that Sachar allows his characters to equate weakness with femininity, or more accurately motherhood, shows a certain bias towards the supposed strength that innately accompanies masculinity. This ttitude is only furthered by the fact that the rest of the book as almost totally devoid of female characters other than the witch-like caricature presented to us in the form of the warden. She comes complete with a vicious disposition and poisonous fingernails.

The most interesting part of this bias is that the boys chose to name Mr. Pendanski “mom” in light of their own personal family histories. I think it can safely be assumed that not many of these boys had a functional relationship with their parents or they probably would not be in Camp Green Lake to begin with. These boys chose to place Mr. Pendanski, a whiny and unrespected man in the grand scheme of things at camp, in the role of mother. They did not turn to the only woman present at the camp, nor the man who disciplines them each day, to fill their maternal needs. Instead they turn to the weakest figure in their lives and mock him by referring to him as a woman.

This demonstrates to us that Sachar considers femininity a weakness in this world and has no issues showing us. As Ernst wrote, “How easy is it to relegate girls to second class citizens when they are seen as second-class citizens, or not at all” (Ernst 67). This point is only furthered by the fact that the only woman present is such a fairy tale character. She is portrayed to us as all but a sorceress and it can be assumed she has taken on this persona in order to survive in a predominately male post in a totally male dominated environment.

Even in our class it was evident that many readers were taken aback by the fact that Sachar chose to make his warden a female. And so it again can be seen that Sachar has imparted onto us a bias that a real woman could not function in this world so he had to invent a completely fictional and grandiose ne. With all the other characters in the book appearing so human, it seems obvious he turned the warden into a beast because he felt he had to. In What Jamie Saw, by Carolyn Coman, gender bias shows itself in a new way. In this book masculinity and evil seem to go hand in hand.

There is the character of Van, who is pretty much the same abusive man from every after school special and info-mercial we see during primetime, doing terrible things to a defenseless family. Then there is Jamie, who by my estimation is one of the meekest male characters I have encountered in a childrens book. Finally we have Earl, who is such a hollow character that I truly believe he is merely Comans “out” for this book and nothing more. He is the not threatening to Jamie and his family because he is not anything or anyone; he is simply the idea of a man.

He is not developed as a character nor does he give any insight into the situation he encounters and therefore can be disregarded as a tertiary character either passive or emotionally absent from the world around him. Van and Jamie however, serve a much more prominent and functional purpose. Van strikes me much the same way the Warden does in Holes. Although he is presented in a slightly less fantastic light, one cannot help but see him as the embodiment of evil and destruction within Comans world.

This not only demonstrates a stereotype of men as violent, but it also is a necessity to the book because it does not ever actually detail the violence occurring in the book other than the opening. By making Van the animal that he is, we as readers have an easier time believing he is capable of the horrors inherent within this book. He takes on almost a Neanderthal-ic feel as the book progresses and the lives of everyone involved ecome more complicated. I do not mean to suggest that power and masculinity always must go together, but Van most certainly is shown to us as the stereotypical dominant male from the start.

Using his brawn to solve problems rather than his brain, Van is our worst nightmare of what a man is capable of becoming: a thoughtless, guiltless tornado of destruction. Coman uses these biases present in our minds to amplify her character and thereby increase the power of her story. The gender bias in Virginia Hamiltons Cousins is very obvious and straightforward in the form of Patty Ann, who is described many imes the way we would talk about a porcelain doll. Hamilton places on her character the two most common stereotypes women encounter: the image of perfection and an innate insecurity with themselves.

She does this very blatantly, as is evident in her writing. This image of perfection can be seen in Cammys description of Patty Ann, “Patty Ann had her special expression again, the kind that made folks say she was the best. That made people not notice the rest of her was just skin and bones. Her face was just perfect… ” (Hamilton 93). This image of fragile perfection is what has kept women especially those of beauty) from being perceived as equal or intelligent. I was surprised to see this image so obviously presented until I realized it was necessary for the character to function properly within the story.

However it is still obvious that one of the oldest female stereotypes exists in full force within the character on Patty Ann. In addition to this doll-like quality, Hamilton shows us the insecure underbelly of her character. Patty Ann shows throughout the book how much she fears what others think of her through her attitude. She has a tendency to be rather mean at times because of her nsecurities and it serves to distance her from many people in her life. Hamilton uses Patty Ann to demonstrate the perceptions people may have of girls and then allows Cammy to digest Patty Anns short life in order to debunk them.

The image of Patty Ann while she is alive and Cammys view of her after she is gone differ greatly, which serves to remove the validity from the very stereotypes Hamilton is presenting. Edward Bloors Tangerine presents us with a gender bias we encounter more commonly in TV sitcoms than in literature: that of the athletic, mean spirited, adolescent male. Eriks tirades and terrors re well documented in the book, and though I will not rehash them I will say that they are tragic. Bloors character is menacing and torturous towards his little brother for his own amusement and spite.

Eriks ability to cover his tracks and allow everyone to believe he is a “normal” young man turns him into a conniving villain in this piece. Erik fits the jock/bully role perfectly and Bloor amplifies this by using Pauls voice in his writing. Paul deems Eriks goals as “The Erik Fisher Football Dream” and even comments on his love life. “I guess Paige and Tina want to date football players, so these two will do. Erik and Arthur want to date cheerleaders, so these two will do” (Bloor 39). Erik now is shown to us as a materialistic social climber with no regard for anyone but himself.

The egotistical Adonis we now see serves as the villain to the sensitive and humble Paul. Bloor does this because to the modern reader the dominant male character is very easy to hate, what with his well-documented oppression of every other major group he encounters. Bloor further stereotypes the Fisher family, but for a very different reason than the other authors I have discussed. He is attempting to satirize our stereotypes of the nuclear family hrough the over-the-top nature of this family. This is an approach that I have not encountered and found most enjoyable.

Bloor has a tendency to write many of the family interactions in a rather tongue-in-cheek tone, which adds humor to the story and allows us as readers to laugh at the ridiculousness of our own preconceived notions about what a family “should” be. By showing us the augmented version of our stereotypes Bloor hopes to show us how silly they truly are. Walk Two Moons, by Sharon Creech is a book that I believe presents a very well rounded and complete character in Sal. She is a warm and intelligent girl and Creech does not encumber her character with the pitfalls of any evident stereotypes as far as I can see.

She interacts with her environment in a logical and intelligent way, and at times, such as when her mother lost her baby, demonstrates amazing strength. It appears that Sals strength is derived from her family, which is a very endearing feature. This is probably why Creech employed this characteristic, in order to make Sal someone we would want to know and care for. It is important in this book for Sal to be someone the reader can elate to because she is not only a central character but also a storyteller. We must trust and care for her in order to feel the emotions Creech is trying to evoke.

Sals charming, simple humor and perseverance through tough times make her one of the only characters we have encountered whom I feel is truly a complete and noble person. Creech does an excellent job of getting into her psyche and displaying it to us throughout the story without becoming overly dramatic or “sappy”. Creech uses Sal to show us the human spirit that can exist within a good and intelligent person, regardless of their sex or social category. All of these books deal with gender roles, either unwittingly or in order to display them as falsehoods.

They present to us a reflection, however warped it may be, of the world we live in and the perceptions inherent within it. In order for us to recognize and deal with these ideas, we must continue to discuss them through real-life situations or literature we encounter. Only by dissecting obvious examples of these biases will we ever be able to abandon them. Censoring books such as these merely avoids the problem and allows future generations to go on clinging to the same stilted social values we fault now.

Each author presents to us an image of the world and then displays the principles they hold dear by controlling their characters within it. It is by analyzing these images and principles that we will be fully able to understand the views present around us and thereby form a more educated one of our own. Ernst wrote, “… changes in childrens books often come long after they have been seen in reality” (76). We as teachers have a responsibility to dialogue these notions with our students so that they will have the insight to write about it in the future.

The Flame Who Lost His Way

It is not possible or commendable in mainstream United States to imitate biblical-times gender role patterns. In biblical times, male and female weren’t associated according to gender as much as they were according to relationship. Because of the enmeshed society where individuating was not only not done but wasn’t seen as normal or healthy we cannot as individuals in the United States begin to imitate let alone completely understand gender role patterns in biblical-times. Women were seen as sisters, wives, mothers, daughters etc. not as women in the sense of gender.

Men were also enveloped within relationship as brother, husband, father, son etc. not as maleness. Relationship defined who they were as a person in relationship. An individual was usually someone outside the group, inferior, sick or unacceptable. In the United States we value individuality. We have whole professions dedicated specifically to heal those who are not individuals in one sense or another. We value the self-alone, not as much as relationship. Who we are isn’t bound in what relationship we are in but usually in what we do for a living.

Because of this foundational difference in orientation as human beings we should not and could not imitate biblical-times gender role patterns. When we as Western thinkers read the Bible through our United States, individual promoting lenses we tend to view the culture of the ancient Near East as barbaric and dehumanizing for some classes, especially women. We feel they are treated as inferior and we cannot understand how a gracious God could not only allow but also institute such a prejudiced society. But here is where we misunderstand the culture and women. Are they treated inferior or just different?

The presuppositions of Hebrew culture regarding men and women lead to the understanding of the roles of each sex. According to Proverbs women were easy to fall into adultery, therefore, men were to keep them pure according to the relationship they had with the woman, as father or husband. In the same way, men were understood to be strong leaders therefore, they controlled aspects of government and religious ceremony. Using our worldview we cannot get past the fact that they are wrong. Men are just as much to blame and can easily fall into adultery as women, we think.

We also can name a woman who was a much better leader than many men we know. But does this mean the Hebrews were wrong, have things changed or maybe with our different view of the reality we can’t even understand how they came to their conclusions. The latter is probably the closest to the truth. Now that we have come to realize that the ancient Hebrews were altogether different people than we are today according to lifestyle, law, mindset and even the definition of egalitarian, how does this affect the biblical message or theology?

Due to the different cultural understanding of gender roles should we absolutely disregard everything in the Bible that refers specifically to gender? Should we try to meet those expectations inspite of the realization that our Western mindset is not set up that way? Or, should we try to understand those passages according to the culture that it was speaking to and then make application that will be acceptable within our own worldview? I believe the latter is the only answer that gives justice to the Word and fits with us as Americans. Is this compromise?

Yes, it is. Does it compromise the message or moral? I don’t believe so. The Bible was written to lead the lost to a relationship with God and understanding it within its cultural context it doing just that. Therefore, the Bible’s message is not specifically bound up with ancient Near Eastern gender role patterns. The way the story is told might be though. As competent biblical scholars, or at least trying to be we must and I stress must understand the cultural surrounding the message, as well as, identify our own biases and lenses that we bring to the Word.

If we can first realize that as male/female, married/single, tall/short, fat/thin etc. colors our view not only as we act in our Western society but also in every aspect of life from the experiences we love to our reactions to the TV shows we watch then, and only then, can we come to some sort of evaluation of the text within its cultural tones. How plausible is this utopian idea? I firmly believe it is a process and that each day can be a victory. What steps should we take toward that goal?

Evaluating ourselves according to relationships, experiences, traditions, societal standing, work and every aspect of our life lead us to transparency. This means we are able to put aside our glittering image at least for the sake of ourselves. Understanding what makes us tick and what ticks us off can lead to realizing what biblical passages get under our skin and gives us goose bumps. This will help in attempting to understand the cultural norms of the society of the ancient Near East.

As informed individuals we can then tackle the hard spots of the Bible. This doesn’t mean we will all of a sudden agree that Jephthah did the right thing by sacrificing his daughter or that it will even be more palatable to us but at least we can understand it from his own perspective. The most challenging thing in life is change. We are habitual beings but we must at least be open to change some of our biases so we can get the message or theology from a passage of scripture that defies our cultural norms.

Medea – Male and Female Perceptions of the World

Ask yourself this, Is this world biased against a particular gender? Do we mainly focus on women’s issues or men’s? What would your answer be? I bet most of you would say no, we aren’t biased at all. And, in many cases, that would be correct. But look at some of the other parts of the world where woman aren’t allowed a say, they aren’t allowed to put their point of view forward even in our own society. They aren’t allowed to know information until the male passes it on to them. This gap between women and men is widest in these areas. This type of treatment was happening at the times of the great ancient Greek playwrights such as Aeschylus, Sophocles, and the controversial Euripides. Euripides play Medea explores these themes as well as many others.

Unlike today where women are usually regarded as important as men are, the ancient Greek men were ranked much higher than women in the hierarchy and therefore there was quite a gap between them. This meant that men were able to order women around and information was available to them before anybody else. Men were regarded as smarter than women so they were chosen to do special tasks while the women were left to be servants. But men didn’t seem to understand women much at all. Some men believed that they were just Poor women, Harping on trouble, where really they were doing things that would have helped themselves as well as the people around them.

Medea is expected to love Jason with all her heart, and she does. She is expected to take care of her children and do just about anything for Jason, and she does this too. But Medea is also expected to understand that Jason wishes to get married to another woman in order for him to gain the power that had always wanted. She doesn’t understand this at all. All Medea expects from Jason is for him to love her. When men have more power than women, they expect more understanding from women.

The play shows the views of both genders. The tutor, the messenger, Creon (king of Corinth), and Aegus (king of Athens) represent the male point of view. The nurse and the Chorus of Corinthian women represent the female point of view. Euripides intended to only have two voices representing the women to show that the women were less important than the men were. He has the views of a nurse, who is regarded as a servant, against the views of two kings, a teacher and a messenger. Who would people listen to? It would most likely be the men. They had more power being kings and educators. Who would listen to a servant who cant stop talking? In spite of all of this, Medea had more power than any of the other characters in the play. Why is this? She has the willpower and the passion for revenge. She doesn’t think of what could have been, she just gets out there and does it.

Medea is quite ahead of her time, she is almost ahead of our time too. Her ideas of speaking her mind and standing for her rights are things that some of us could only talk about today. Everybody thought she was out of her mind when she began her plan for revenge on Jason. If you were dumped, you were meant to take it and live with it. Retaliating like Medea did was something that wasn’t done at that time  that’s why nobody understood her actions.

But today, women will go to all sorts of lengths to get revenge on their ex-lover. Things such as letting their exs car tyres down each morning is a good example of this. Although Medea did a bit more than letting Jason’s tyres down (she killed Jason’s new wife, Jason’s new father-in-law, and her very own children), she still had the right to be angry. She stood for women’s rights and was one of the few fictional feminists of her time.

This gap was made by two totally different genders who have totally different views and who cant understand each other at all because of this. Medea reversed the gap. She made women equal to men.

Medea: Gender Roles

In Euripides Medea, the protagonist abandoned the gender roles of ancient Greek society. Medea defied perceptions of gender by exhibiting both “male” and “female” tendencies. She was able to detach herself from her “womanly” emotions at times and perform acts that society did not see women capable of doing. However, Medea did not fully abandon her role as a woman and did express many female emotions throughout the play.

In ancient Greek society, murder was not commonly associated with women. Throughout the play, however, Medea committed several acts of murder.

We learn that Medea has killed her brother. Medea does not have any guilt about planning and carrying out the murders of king Creon and his daughter Glauke. As the play develops, the reader realizes that Medea plans to commit infanticide.

I shall murder my children, these children of mine if die they must, I shall slay them, who gave them birth.(Euripides 207-213)

This contradicts societys view that women are the givers of life and that men take it away. It is especially unacceptable because she is the children’s mother. To kill a member of your family was frowned upon in ancient Greece, as it is today.

[Chorus] Think. You are stabbing your children. Think By your knees we entreat you, by all the world holds sacred, do not murder your children. (Euripides 208)

Medea displays extreme pride, which is stereotyped as a “male” characteristic. She is willing to sacrifice everything, including her children, to restore her reputation. It is a common belief that a woman’s weakness is her children, but this is not the case with Medea. Her sense of pride prevails over her maternal instincts.

Good-bye to my former plans I cannot do it. And yet what is the matter with me? Do I want to make myself a laughingstock by letting my enemies off scot-free? I must go through with itI do realize how terrible is the crime I am about , but passion overrules my resolutions Its worth the grief You could not hope, nor your princess either, to scorn my love, make a fool of me and live happily ever after. (Euripides 212-219)

Medea seeks vengeance with the same forceful determination to rectify the situation as a man would. A woman seeking revenge challenges societys view of women as weak and passive. Medea will go to great lengths to hurt Jason for the wrongs he has done to her.
[Chorus]You will slaughter them to avenge the dishonor of your bed betrayed[Medea]O children, your fathers sins have caused your death(Euripides 211-219)

Medea dwells in self-pity until contriving a scheme that will avenge her hurt. Wallowing in self contempt is generally a quality attributed to women by society. Medea is so unhappy with herself after her marriage with Jason ended that she wanted to die.

Oh! My grief! The misery of it all! Why can I not die?O misery! The things I have suffered!Oh! Would a flaming bolt from Heaven might pierce my brain! What is the good of living any longer? O misery! Let me give up this life I find so hateful. Let me seek lodging in the house of death It’s all over my friends; I would gladly die. Life has lost its savor Ah! Double destruction is my unhappy lot! The troubles are mine, I have no lack of troubles.(Euripides 192-197)

Medea also experiences the “female” emotion of jealousy. Medea is jealous of Glauke, the daughter of Creon. Jason has left Medea for Glauke, who is younger, royalty and accepted by society.

Your foreign wife was passing into an old age that did you little credit As you loiter outside here you are burning with longing for the girl who has just been made your wife(Euripides 202-203)

The common opinion among society is that women tend to use deceit and trickery to achieve their goals. Medea is no exception. Medea persuades Creon to allow her to stay one more day in Corinth on the pretense of preparing for exile, while in actuality Medea was planning the murders of her enemies and children.

Do you think I would have ever wheedled the king just now except to further my own plans? I would not even have spoken to him, nor touched him either He has allowed me this one day, in which I will make corpses of my enemies.(Euripides 198)

Medea defied society’s stereotypes of male and female characters. Throughout Euripides Medea the protagonist showed extreme emotions of both sexes. At times she was the ultimate woman, and others the ultimate man.

Medea vs. Antigone: Compare

The two Greek plays, Medea and Antigone both exhibit opening scenes that serve numerous purposes. Such as establishing loyalties, undermining assumptions on the part of the audience, foreshadowing the rest of the play, and outlining all of the issues. Medea and Antigone share many similarities in their openings.

Both plays begin with providing the audience with the history and the consequences of certain situations that the characters were involved in. It also brings the audience to the present time, in which the play occurs. This enables the audience to have a clear and refreshed image of what aspect of the legend the play emphasizes or if any alterations were made. In Medea, the nurse is the first character who enters the play and reminds the audience of the legend of the Golden Fleece, and the love between Jason and Medea, from beginning to the end.

She also brings them to the present state Medea is in, which is of complete despair and depression after Jason remarried. “And she hates her children now, and feels no joy at seeing them.” (Oates, 292). In Antigone, one of the purposes of the chorus is to provide history to the audience. Although, Sophocles did change the structure a little. The first to enter the play are Antigone and Ismene, who are engaging in conversation over defying the edict forbidding their brothers burial, which brings the audience to the present time.

Shortly after, the chorus enters and recounts the reasons for the battle and death of Polyneices and Eteocles, brothers to Antigone and Ismene. The chorus appears every scene to serve as the voice of the culture, and counsels to the characters. “Save those two of cruel fate, who, born of one sire and one mother, set against each other their twain conquering spears, and sharers in a common death.” (Oates, 192).

While the chorus and the nurse recount the background of the story they simultaneously set the mood of the play. Their speeches are expressed with such deep emotion that the audience can’t help but become involved. The nurse in Medea sets a very tense mood that remains throughout the whole play. “I fear she may contrive some untoward scheme; for her mood is dangerous nor will she brook her cruel treatment.” (Oates, 292).

Another similarity these two plays share is the defiance of the traditional role of women. The Greek culture was set in the role that women should take and it was rarely violated. Women were expected to take the submissive role and never question a superior male. Their voice was rarely heard and their opinions were insignificant, especially in society. As far as marriage went, women must buy their husbands with a dowry and it was necessary fro them to remain married, even if it was a bad marriage. Divorce was illegal for women, while a man could remarry if he chose to do so.

This defiance from the traditional role forces the audience to view their society from a different angle. These plays examine a woman who isn’t submissive and makes her own decision; based on her own values instead of he one’s society forces them to accept. Overall Antigone’s character was stubborn, angry, dogmatic, and she put her family and religious beliefs before the state. The opening conversation between Antigone and Ismene discusses Creon’s edict forbidding the burial of Polyneices.

Antigone confides in her sister that she plans to defy the order and asks for her help. Ismene reminds Antigone that they are women and not strong enough to defy the state. Antigone views the loyalty to her brother and the law of the gods above the state and will die for Polyneices burial. She is a woman ruled by instincts, emotions, and extreme pride. “I shall rest, a loved one with him whom I have loved, sinless in my crime; for I owe a longer allegiance to the dead than to the living But if thou wilt, be guilty of dishonoring laws which the gods have stablished in honour.” (Oates, 189).

Medea examines a female who also defies the traditional role. Medea is depicted as a violent, savage woman who will stop at nothing to seek harm to her enemies. She attacks the role of women in society and disagrees with the way women are treated as inferior. “And yet they say we live secure at home, while they are at the wars, with their sorry reasoning, for I would gladly take my stand in battle array three times o’er, than once give birth.” (Oates, 298).

Sophocles’ Antigone and Euripides Medea are two Greek plays that share many similarities. For example, the way the audience is informed of history and the defiance of the traditional role of women are only two. Thus, Greek tragedy has many reoccurring themes, which can be directly related to the society in which they were written.

Feminism in Medea

The play Medea by Euripides challenges the dominant views of femininity in the patriarchal society of the Greeks. While pursuing her ambition Medea disregards many of the feminine stereotypes/ characteristics of the patriarchal Greek society. She questions the inequality of women in a patriarchal society, contradicts Jason’s chauvinist beliefs, challenges the stereotype that women are weak and passive and completely disregards the feminine role of motherhood.

Feminism is the belief that women and men are, and have been, treated differently by society, and that women have frequently and systematically been unable to participate fully in all social arenas and institutions. This belief is confirmed in ancient Greece where the status of women was very low. Aristotle describes the relationship between men and women during that time period:

‘It is the best for all tame animals to be ruled by human beings. For this is how they are kept alive. In the same way, the relationship between the male and the female is by nature such that the male is higher, the female lower, that the male rules and the female is ruled.’ Aristotle, Politica, ed. Loeb Classical Library, 1254 b 10-14.

Plato ascribes the inferior status of women to degeneration from men:

“It is only males who are created directly by the gods and are given souls. Those who live rightly return to the stars, but those who are ‘cowards or [lead unrighteous lives] may with reason be supposed to have changed into the nature of women in the second generation’. This downward progress may continue through successive reincarnations unless reversed. In this situation, obviously it is only men who are complete human beings and can hope for ultimate fulfillment; the best a woman can hope for is to become a man” (Plato, Timaeus 90e).

In Greek society, a woman was confined within the parental home until a husband was chosen for her. Then she was transferred to the home of her husband where she was to fulfill her principal function, the bearing and rearing children.

Medea shows the inequality of women in Greek society. The betrayal of Medea by Jason through his marriage to another woman enrages Medea. She begins to question the role and position of women in a patriarchal society. “Are we women not the wretchedness? We scratch and save a dowry to buy a man…Our lives depends on how his lordship feels. For better for worse we can’t divorce him.”(p.8, Medea). However, “a husband tired of domesticity, Goes out sees friends and enjoys himself….”(p.8and 9, Medea). Medea compares the virtual slavery of women to the absolute freedom of men, showing the inequality and disempowerment of women in society at that time.

Jason’s chauvinist beliefs are put under the microscope. Jason airs his views about what all women want: “If they’re (women) happy in bed, they’re happy everywhere”. By comparing Medea’s pure feminism to Jason’s selfish chauvinism, Euripides brokers sympathy and support for feminism from the audience.

Medea questions the firmly held belief in Greek society that women are weak and passive. Wanting revenge on Jason for his betrayal of her, Medea must take control of the situation, a stereotypical masculine quality. Though she cannot become a man or take power like a man, she perceives her ability to take vengeance with the same kind of forceful determination that a man would demonstrate in her situation. “I’ll kill the children…Then, when all Jason’s hopes, his palace hopes, are gone I’ll leave this land”(p.27 Medea) She makes the ultimate sacrifice, her children’s lives, in order to decisively take control of her life and become independent of Jason, showing that she is neither weak nor passive. Medea challenges the feminine stereotypes of weakness and passiveness by taking control of her life.

Medea challenges society’s views of her matriarchal role in a patriarchal society. She is in a situation where she must struggle between her want for independence and her motherhood instincts: “My heart all dagger. Do it. Don’t flinch. You must. Come, hand: the sword. This course must run. No weakness. No…memories. Flesh of your flesh! Forget you loved them for one short day, forget. Then weep, wretch, weep, Who killed to prove your love.(p.42, Medea) Medea is forced to take drastic steps in order to achieve her feminist goals of freedom and independence.

She must kill her children and lose the sympathy of the audience. Earlier in the play the chorus, who reflect the dominant values and ideology of the time, agreed with her views on women being disempowered and how she was wronged by Jason:”…what you do is far from just: deserting her” (p.19,Medea). However, at this point in the play the chorus no longer sympathizes with Medea and her actions and actually plead with her: “On our knees we beg you- think again. Your children must not die.”(p.29, Medea).

This reveals the most significant part of the play in which the audience, who instead of supporting Medea now are shocked and disgraced by her. The loss of sympathy for Medea because of her plans of infanticide is a tool showing that the matriarchal stereotype of women is a belief that is still firmly held by society. The ‘motherhood’ and ‘nurturing’ role are both characteristics concerning femininity that Medea out rightly disregards when she kills her children.

Medea’s questions the inequality of women in a patriarchal society, contradicts Jason’s chauvinist beliefs, challenges the stereotype that women are weak and passive and completely disregards the feminine role of motherhood. In society today many people believe Medea to be a pioneer of feminism, even though her society/chorus scorns Medea after she killed her children. Medea still reveals many good and relevant stereotypes, such as the ‘motherhood’ and ‘nurturing’ roles that women still object to and fight against today.

Radical Feminism in Like Water for Chocolate

There are many different definitions of feminism. Some people regard feminism as the idea that women deserve the same amount of respect that men deserve. There are the other schools of feminist thought that hold women superior to men. Yet another believes that the gender roles controlling women are artificially created and not innate knowledge, and thus men and women are equals with only history the determining factor and how gender equality is established.

There are clear feminist overtones in Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. Esquivel pointes to a more radical definition of feminism in Like Water for Chocolate. The story focuses on mostly female characters that assume the gender roles typically associated with men. Esquivel presents these strong female figures in such a way as to make the reader begin to question any preconceptions previously held about the capabilities of women.

Feminism has been a concept long thought about. Generally dealing with the idea that men have historically been thought of as superior to women, the feminist philosophy contends that men and women are equal and thus deserve equal treatment. Esquivel makes it clear that all the women characters are not dependent in any way to any men. This independence of men that she creates is a key to understanding the feminist nature of the novel.

Early on with Tita’s father dying we see that now Mama Elena is charged with the care and protecting of her family. At this point Esquivel has already created the first independent strong female character. Mama Elena goes on, for better or worse, attempting the best she can to raise a family in the tumultuous time of the Mexican revolution. She struggles against her rebellious daughter in her own attempt to keep her family’s heritage and traditions alive.

Not only does she raise a family but she also runs the ranch on which the live and on derive their sustenance. Early on in the novel we see that Esquivel presents a character that deserves the same amount of respect normally giving to a male character in this same role. By placing this normally male role in a woman Esquivel questions the typical role of the woman in a home of just raising children by bestowing additional responsibilities.

We see elsewhere in the novel the strength in Gertrudis, Tita’s sister. Gertrudis escapes the ranch after reacting mysteriously to one of Tita’s recipes. She runs away with a rebel soldier, works in a brothel at the Mexico-Texas border, and eventually returns to the ranch as a general in the revolutionary army. Here we witness the creation of a second strong female character. When we first see Gertrudis we see just another female character. But after her return we find that she has become a leader of in the revolution. Again Esquivel takes a potion that is typically male associated and fills that role with and equally respectable female character.

There is then the focal character, Tita. Tita is the pivotal character in defining Like Water for Chocolate as a feminist novel. Tita more than her mother, is the glue that holds her family together. It is she that cares for the ranch and feeds everyone. Tita is the one who ensures that everything goes to plan. After her mother becomes paralyzed, even with her hatred towards her she still continues to care for her.

Tita is the strongest feminine figure in this novel. She continues to strive for what she wants form life and stops at nothing to get it. Through Esquivel creates a sense that Tita is not someone who you would want to get in the way of. Esquivel does this in such a way so that readers come to love and respect the character of Tita as opposed to seeing her as a selfish demanding woman.

Like Water for Chocolate takes an intriguing look at radical feminism. Most importantly, through the portrayal of Elena and, Esquivel takes an approach at shows that although she fits a feminist roll, she does not need to be liked. Elena is opposed by the more endearing and lovable characters like Nacha, Gertrudis, and Tita. With these characters we see Gertrudis make a leap forward and size power as the head of a revolutionary army. Tita of course finally fights her mother and begins her life anew with her own wants and desires.

Works Cited

Esquivel, Laura. Like Water for Chocolate. New York: Anchor Books, 1995.

Woman Characters In The Merchant Of Venice And Henry V

Shakespeares presentation and portrayal of his female characters in The Merchant of Venice and Henry V follows a typical pattern that is present in all of the Shakespearean plays that I have read so far. When looking closely at the fate of his female characters, this pattern becomes even more evident for it repeats itself no matter how different the plays are. For instance, Henry V and The Merchant of Venice are different in every respect.

The female characters not only come from different backgrounds, they also have very different personalities. However, as different as these plays and their characters are, the female characters end up suffering the same fate. It doesnt seem to matter whether they are born into a life of peasantry, nobility, or come from royalty, for they ultimately will end up being no better than a piece of land, or cattle, or some possession that a man can own and do with as he pleases. Scholars have been debating for centuries now as to whether Shakespeares women reflect his societys attitudes or that of his own.

Henry V is definitely geared more for the male audience. There are only two or three acts in which a female character is present at all. When we first get a glimpse of Katherine, she is trying to learn the English language. This scene is supposed to be somewhat comical, but are we really supposed to believe that while there is a war raging throughout her country, that all Katherine is concerned about is the fact that she cant speak the language of her enemy?

This scene in which we get our first glimpse of Katherine is somewhat degrading to her character as well as misleading. This leaves the audience with the inaccurate perception that Katherine, and thus all women in general, care very little about whats going on around them, and more about making themselves presentable. Afterall, isnt Katherine the Grand Prize that will be awarded to the winning side?

I find it very insulting that Shakespeares only significant female role in the whole play, is being used as a Prize to be given away. Shakespeare doesnt even try to hide the fact that he is setting Katherine up as a prize. I find this kind of arrogance to be offensive and very belittling to women.

While the men are off fighting the battle, Katherine, the future Queen of France, does not appear to be a bit concerned over the fate of her own country. Instead, she readily accepts her fate as she prepares herself for the role of Queen of England.

This play is very biased and one-sided. Most of the English men are portrayed as noble, humble and superior to the French. Henry himself can do no wrong, and is portrayed through out the play as the best leader that the English have ever had. This image that he can do no wrong and is as close to being perfect as one can get, only holds up if you dont go digging around in Henrys past, in which he had been portrayed as a spoiled, pampered partying boy. The French, in contrast to the English, are presented as arrogant, incompetent, and weak, very similar to what Henry had been not to long ago. There is, however, one thing lower than a Frenchman, and that is, a French woman.

The fact that Shakespeare subjected Katherines character, (she, who had been born into royalty which was the highest social position one can reach), to being treated as a possession or prize for a man, only adds credence to the argument that Shakespeare had very little respect for women.

Katherine character, for the most part, adds very little, if anything at all, to the play. In fact, the role of Katherine could have easily been omitted altogether, and personally, I wish it had been The last act, in which Henry easily manages to win the affections of Katherine, is a weak attempt on Shakespeares part to end the play on a an uplifting note. Its a shame that Shakespeare put it in at all because it definitely changes the way I feel about this play, in particular, as well as the others.

The women characters in The Merchant of Venice are treated with much more respect than Katherine had been. However, I have a feeling that its only due to the fact that Shakespeare thinks less of Jews than he does women.

The Merchant of Venice, does have a strong cast of women who play very important roles throughout the play. These women are much more impressive than those found in Henry V. Portia, in particular, is by far the superior one of the play. Like Queen Elizabeth herself, Portias character is a blending of femininity and masculinity. Portia has great strength of character, a quick wit, and is very well educated in the affairs of the world around her which is not a common theme in Shakespeares women.

She is in every respect far superior to the fools she ends up being surrounded by. This might not have been the case if it werent for the fact that she, with all her intelligence and wit is still being dictated by a male. Her dead father dictates her life through his will. I guess Shakespeare does not miss an opportunity to put even the most superior of all women in her place as he does just that to Portia. For all her power, riches, and strengths, she still is no better than the man she marries. Her new husband, Barsenio, is no match for her, and yet he is handed over everything that belongs to her, including her soul.

Although Shakespeare gives the very best of qualities and traits to the female character Portia, he knows that in spite of her superiority and domination over all the other characters including the male characters, he can later strip her of all her greatness at any time, and does just that at the end of the play. What I find so unbelievable is the way that Shakespeares women just hand over everything including themselves, no questions asked, to a man they hardly know and yet willingly and happily marry. I have a hard time believing that women of his day did this duty so graciously.

Portias portrayal of being such a strong figure and at the same time, a woman who is subservient to her times, makes me question whether Shakespeare really knew what was gong on in the minds of the Elizabethan women. Just the fact that he disguises his women characters up as men in order to bring them to higher levels, leads me to believe that he is just making it all up as he goes along. Dont get me wrong, I love most of Shakespeares work. Its just his female characters that I have a problem with.

When reading Shakespeare it is easy to question what his motives might have been. Scholars have been doing this for centuries. We will never be sure as to whether or not Shakespeare was reflecting the times or his own feelings. One must keep in mind when reading Shakespeare that hs writings are not historically accurate and therefore most likely only reflect his views on things. I only hope that is the case, for I cant imagine women ever being so passive. Could we have really been the passive beings that Shakespeare portrays women as, I seriously doubt it.

Glass Ceilin

The glass ceiling starts to form itself very early on. From the moment a woman enters the work force after college, she is faced with much discrimination and unjust belief that she will not be able to do as well of a job than a man. A man and a woman, who both have the same education and training for a job, will have a considerable gap in their yearly income. In a first year job, a man will make approximately $14,619 compared to a woman who will make only $12,201. That is a pay gap of 17%(Gender Pay 1). There is no reason why there should be any gap in their incomes during the first year of their jobs.

They have both had the same formal education and both have the same qualifications necessary for the job, yet they are being treated unequally. The woman has not shown herself to be incapable of accomplishing her job and has given her employer no reason to doubt her commitment to her career other than the simple fact that she is a woman. And this discrimination does not go away.

After five years of constant working, at the same rate and level as each other, the pay gap actually increases. A male will get paid an average of $28,119 while a female only receives $22,851 (Gender Pay 1). This is how things have been done for years. The man typically gets paid more money and holds more executive jobs than women do, simply because they are males. A man will be paid an average of 47% more than females in the course of their lives (Gender Pay 1). Although this is wrong, this has been tradition for so long, both men and women have accepted this way of thinking as right and have just gone along with it.

There have been changes in regards to women in top positions within the last few years. However, although those advances are positive, they are still no where equal. A certain statistic may say that there has been a 14% increase in the number of women in executive jobs for a certain company. However, although that increase is no doubt positive, it fails to tell the true story.

That increase is only increases from a very minute number, if not zero, of women who previously held that position. Another thing that that statistic fails to mention is that the most of them include women in that position as that company from all of its worldwide locations. In other words, only 14% of executives around that world for a certain company are women (Misleading 1). So even though this may be an improvement on womens behalf from years ago, it is still no where equal. Men and women must work hard together to make things equal.

Its not the profession that has the glass ceiling, someone has put it there (Brower 162). Men need to change their attitudes and actions towards women in the workplace. They need to abandon believing that they are superior to women. Most men truly believe that a woman is simply not capable of doing as well of a job, or better, than a man can do. Therefore, they become extremely unsupportive of women and fail to recognize their accomplishments. They decline to give women raises, higher executive positions, more responsibility and overall respect.

Many men have very subtle and low-key ways of showing their discrimination. These men know that it is unlawful to discriminate against women, so they do it ways that can have no reprimanding consequences. They will go out to lunch, dinner or drinks with the guys, claiming that it is just a time for male bonding. But the truth of the matter is that most business relationships develop over these bonding times therefore, leaving the female employees out of the equation (Brower 160). Other men are not so subtle. Male bosses often deliberately overlook a female employee for a promotion by making bogus credentials that only a male would be able to fulfill (Brower 162). Men arent planning to become pregnant and take maternity leave as often as a woman does.

My mother has come into contact with both types of men. She has been scanned over for a business lunch or dinner just because she is a woman. She has also had male clients wish to speak with the man in charge instead of talking to her (Brzostowski). These are the types of men who put up the glass ceiling for women. They still carry prehistoric thoughts that women cannot be committed to a career because they belong at home, taking care of the house, and raising the family.

Women in the past never had many rights. In the past, a womans power was always restricted over her own future. They were forced to depend on the men. In society, the men were the ones who represented the women. A woman was depicted as her husbands wife and her childrens mother. These women worked in the home usually producing cloth, sewing, or being a cook or nurse to her family. But this is the year 2000. Women want to be independent, they want to succeed in a career for themselves, hey want it alland they can to it all.

But another thing that men fail to understand is that some women do not have a choice. Some never get married or have a family of their own, so they have no choice but to throw themselves into their job. Others are single parents, divorced or widowed, needing to work in order to support themselves and their children. Men and their unfair and preposterous beliefs toward women in the workplace makes it sometimes impossible for women to have any chance of succeeding. But it also causes many women to believe that they are not equal and that it is okay for them to be treated differently from men.

Male dominance has been prevalent since the earliest records of man, because of this; women in most societies have been at a disadvantage in most aspects in life. Since the industrial revolution the importance of the traditional’ farm household activities of women, like agriculture and textiles, have long been taken over by factories. Since most men now work away from home, the basic lower-status housework has been solely put upon the women.

This division of labor caused even more dominance over females, basically making the female a subordinate worker to the dominating boss (husband). This gender discrimination is so deeply rooted in our society that it causes problems for women in every aspect of their life. This oppressed minority which is actually a statistical majority of the U.S. population is exploited at work, school, at home, in the media, and in politics, with one type of oppression reinforcing another. This interior colonization of women is undoubtedly ignored and is taught and basically accepted since the conception. Segregation starts in the very first minutes that a young boy and girl is born.

The boy gets wrapped in the little blue blanket and the girl gets put in the little pink blanket. Girls are looked upon as pretty and delicate, while the little boy, who practically looks the same, is seen as big, strong, and very attentive. No matter how little this situation seems it shows how the genders are being put into two different categories from day one, thus making the discrimination between the two sexes seem normal before the children even have a chance to see themselves for who they are. As these young girls grow up, they are exposed to even more gender stereotyping.

It starts with their earliest readings in children books; where they find women only doing feminine actions and jobs, while males in the books are the ones doing courageous acts and jobs, taking the initiative to overcome impossible situations. As these girls start to grow up, the mass media, through the means of advertisements in newspapers, billboards, TV, and magazines, only see women pictured in feminine situations. For example, according to the textbook, ads for women generally tend to put them with beauty (modeling, make-up, fashions, and beauty) and household (cooking appliances, cleaning appliances, and food) themes.

Having women being judged generally by their attractiveness, basing their self esteem on beauty (furthering their sex object identity), simultaneously banging the housewife identity into their heads. On the other hand the mass media tends to portrait the males in manly advertisements judging them primarily on what they do. These portraits that are painted by the mass media further the patriarchal society that is already established, and helps make gender domains stronger. All families in America, for a long time, have been based upon established roles between the husband and wife. Through the presence of these womens roles and mans roles the two genders are suppose to act a certain way. Since these roles have been a part of the American culture for so long, women are expected to be subordinate to men.

For example, making them dinner after work, doing the laundry and conception and care of children. They lose much of the major decision making of the family, since society regards the male bringing in money so highly. This lack of power within the family is so institutionalized it gives them such meaningless position when it comes to major things in their life such as: employment, laws, politics, and even their very own body. This meaningless position can be seen in the idea that women do not even get rewarded when they do play the womens role. Women do not get praised for their bearing of children or household work, nor do they gain any power within their family for this.

The power that men hold over women keeps them in a constant state of subordination. This power conflict over women has become so severe that it is not all to uncommon for a man to go so far as to beat his wife. The amount of physical and sexual abuse of women in this society proves this point well. Domestic violence is the most common injury to women, statistically proven millions of women are yearly abuse by their male counter parts. Women in relationships are expected to give themselves, whether willingly or not, to the mans sexual inhibitions. Another point that shows mans thought of his power over women is the idea of rape in America. The males aggression and lack of respect for women in America make the U.S. have, by far, the most women raped every year.

But, because the society is so male dominated these problems are not easily solved. Law officials are often quick to blame the women on most accounts. This patriarchal gender stratification has been carried out of the family and into the work place also. Because men look at females through the womens roles, they have not been able to compete with men in job positions, incomes, or advancement within the work place. Men, with the idea of women being less capable, are quick to judge women, even if their have better credentials. a common problem for women trying to break into traditionally male occupations is the pre-existing male information and support network.

This remains a problem once women are hired. For example only relatively recently have women workers broken into traditionally male-dominated sectors of the auto industry. Until gender stratification is abolished at the family level women will never have equal opportunities in other aspects of life. When women and men are taught from birth that women are mentally and physically inept compared to men the gender roles will prevail. Womens role and mens roles in society will only slowly improve unless some drastic changes are made. It is not an easy thing to change such an institutionalized social order. Huge efforts at the legislative, in the court, law enforcement, Constitutional rights, and especially by man itself are at need to adjust the society in order for equality and equity of women to happen.

Women are the first who need to change in this situation in order for there to ever be a modification and a shatter of this glass ceiling. They must believe that they can not only succeed, but also that they deserve a chance to succeed. Because the notion that women do not belong in the workplace has been around for so long, women have started to believe that they have no place in a career and at least have no place in the upper level, executive job. A friend of mine puts it best when she stated, Everyone around me believed that it was the mans right to get a promotion before me or the other women in our department, so I just kind of accepted it too.

Until one day I realized I deserved it just as much-if not more-than they did. (Budzinski). Believing that they deserve a better job and equal treatment is the first step that a woman needs to take. Although she will come across many men who will try to hold her back, a woman needs to press on. There are a few simple, obvious success factors that a woman can follow to help her succeed first. Firs, a good track record of achievements will show her boss that she has the attitudes to handle a higher executive position. She has to have the willingness to take career risks.

A woman cannot be afraid of herself. She must go out there and give it her all, even if it means taking some risks. But most importantly, she must have the desire to succeed. She has to want it bad enough, and be willing to do whatever it takes to make is as far as she want to go (Center for Creative et al 24-32). There are many other things that a woman can do, but these are just examples of some basic rules that she can follow. But they will not help if she does not believe. Any woman has the potential to break down the glass ceiling; they just have to use their assets to the best of their ability.

It is true that things are getting better for women in the workplace. They are beginning to make little cracks in the glass ceiling, but things are still no where near to being equal. In order for that to happen, men and women need to work together as a team. Men, as well as women, have to do their part. They both must first believe that women are equal to men, then they must act upon it. It is possible.

It is an uphill battle every day, but if we continue to show these men that we are not going away, and if we make our voices heard, they will have no choice but to listen to us and make changes (Brower 160). Women and men move up in their companies to a point, but eventually you find that men keep moving and women stop(Brower).

Women belong in the kitchen. Women are the ones who should take care of their children. Men bring home the bacon. These types of standards were placed upon men and women many years ago. According to old ways of thinking, men are the ones who are supposed to go out into the real world and make all the money. But these old ways of thinking are still the current beliefs too. The men are the ones who are supposed to support their family and do all of the manly handiwork around the house.

Women are supposed to be the passive ones. They are the ones who clean the house, do the shopping, cook, and take care of the children. Stereotypes and social norms play a huge role in the earnings differences between males and females. I agree with her that these two factors did play a huge role in our society explaining differences by sex. Most women decided to get married, become pregnant, and stay home to raise the children, while the men went to work to support the family. This demanded womens jobs to be different from mens with less stress, tension, and physical strain.

This difference existed because traditionally the mothers were required to stay home and raise the children. Women are not traditionally the working types. But as the years have gone by, women have become tired of being passive and want to have their own career and own life. However, something stands in their way—the glass ceiling. This ceiling is an imaginary one that exists for women in the workplace. It represents a line that few women are ever able to cross throughout their lives.

On the other side of that line exists a world of corporate executives, heightened responsibility and higher paying jobs. This is an area that most women can never get to because of that glass ceiling. In the year 2000, the glass ceiling still exists. This ceiling cannot be broken until women are treated as equals. The only way that equality will come about is if both men and women modify their beliefs and actions.

I think that today some women are still silent about not being promoted and having different results of earnings than the men even though having equal experience and education. This silence will always exist among some women causing a difference of earnings among men and women to exist for some time still. Also, some firms tend to hire men more often than women for many reasons. A man is known to be more aggressive than a woman is. Some firms tent to advance more men than women and segregate the different occupations that exist in the firm by their sex. These are basically social norms placed by people in our society due to the major one that men are the dominant figures and that they always will be.

I think that a huge impact on the difference among earnings between men and women is because they each enter the labor force with different reasons, tastes, expectations, or maybe qualifications. One of them may be able to work longer hours or in an unpleasant environment where in return they receive higher pay. Most of us will probably agree that this description fits a mans role more than a womans does. This would be one stereotype that can cause a woman to earn less than a man would. Because women tend to concentrate more on low-paying jobs, their earning rates are lower compared to men.

Large earnings differentials exist among male and females occupations and probably will for the next decades. Women might have made some progress toward integrating these occupations due to the fact of human capital investments. For example, many moms go back to college after raising their kids to earn a better degree so that they can obtain a higher income job. But these women still have not reached equality with men regarding earnings. Many women are reentering the labor force after staying home to raise young children. Slow income growth continues to encourage the need for dual-earner families; ranks of single women are growing also.

These trends might continue to grow and develop where the working women can become the majority of the workforce in the future. There really cant be any policies implemented to address this difference in earnings. Our society has placed stereotypes and social norms that will always exist among us. Women must be allowed to compete freely in all occupations; but they must me undercut. They must demand and receive equal wages for equal work. But women now work for pay in greater numbers, in more occupations, and far more years of their lives than ever before, but too many still settle for compensation far below what it should be, and too many still find their potential curbed by the glass ceiling.

What do you want to be when you grow up

We all have to answer that question at one point in our lives. The funny thing is, no one ever assumes that we just want to be ourselves. We all have to dream of being somebody, of fitting some stereotype. This is absolutely normal because we all have fantasies about the ideal or ideals. And women are just as responsible or the stereotypes created for them as the men. If I didn’t want to be stereotyped as prissy or privileged I would not stick out my pinkie when eating and holding my tea and would not wear makeup in the amounts that I tend to.

If I didn’t want to be called an art freak I would not wear my paint stained overalls or clay covered sweaters and boots. Women have evolved just as much as men have (if not more) through out time and have created an image for themselves, or rather images. If we are seen as nave like in “Stupid Girl” we are probably living out the oldest of the fantasies of the lady in distress. And who wouldn’t like to be the helpless victim? Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White all waiting to be rescued. “Tea at the House” certainly shows the confused child in all of us, how any people just loved watching “My Girl”.

Bad Boy Number Seventeen” well “… tell me about it stud… “; all of the movie “Grease” just makes you (and Sandy for that matter) want to be that trashy blonde with the guy in the tight jeans and nice car, especially if that guy was trouble. Intelligent and deadly sure sounds evil in “Splinters” but sure sounds good when you’re the leading lady and greatest opponent of James Bond, Milady in the Three Musketeers, or Sharon Stone in “Basic Instinct”. It’s powerful and sexy and women love it as much as men do.

Rude and bitchy is something we all have to be and frankly, some of us enjoy it. “Roseanne” and Grace Kelly of “Grace Under Fire” sure showed us what the real guts of a woman look like. She welds, she cooks, she drinks and scratches. She is a woman and a man all in one. The truth is, I can identify with all of these, and not because some man created those images for me, but because I find them appealing for myself. I don’t find them stagnant or degrading. I am all of those things and it makes me a multifaceted and intriguing personality and I will never give a man credit for that.

Gender Trouble: Feminism and The Subversion of Identity

Judith Butler exhibits the new wave of Anglo-American academic feminism, a feminism that goes beyond the delusional categories of male and female, and wishes to confuse or trouble these categories all together. As well, Butler helped to create the discipline of queer theory. [1] Butlers feminism refuses the category of woman itself, exclaiming that it too participates in the hegemonic normative heterosexual matrix of identity, a binary system that enforces a comedic gender structure.

Thus, she is quite applicable to all areas of gender theory, especially gay issues and goals, which wish to destabalize the notions of gender for socio-political gains. In Butlers own questioning style she states in the Preface: I asked, what configuration of power constructs the subject and the Other, that binary relation between men and women, and the internal stability of those terms? What restriction is here at work? Are those terms untroubling only to the extent that they conform to a heterosexual matrix for conceptualizing gender and desire?

What happens to the subject and the stability of gender categories when the epistemic regime of presumptive heterosexuality is unmasked as that which produces and reifies these ostensible categories of ontology (italics mine)? [2] Butlers concern is epistemological and hermeneutical, even though she does not use the term hermeneutics as such. Butler is concerned with the interpretive power of heterosexual discourse in language and gender conception.

Thus, her inquiry questioning the binary conceptions of gender is primarily hermeneutical, if we take hermeneutical to mean a worldview process of interpreting reality. Butler starts her examination of the gender and feminism with reference to a universalizing notion of the feminist subject of woman (Chapter 1: Subjects of Sex/Gender/Desire). Butler references to the limits of a universal woman subject, stating, Indeed, the fragmentation within feminism and the paradoxical opposition to feminism from women whom feminism claims to represent suggest the necessary limits of identity politics. ]

The preoccupation with a universalizing feminist subject has led to multiple refusals to accept the category. [4] If feminism cannot a assert a universal subject, which Butler later maintains as falling into the heterosexual and patriarchal discourse of language, how is feminism to assert any socio-political influence? Butler would not doubt answer, as she does by the end of the book, that feminism should be reconstituted into a forward-looking, troubling of gender/sex identities.

Butler seems to assert (and I say seems because Butler is rarely specific in her articulations) that the whole notion of a feminine subject falls into a compulsive heterosexual reproductive framework, one that assumes the categories of heterosexual identity, without troubling these pseudo-ontological binary distinctions. [5] While the concepts of gender, sex, female/male and woman/man, have undoubtedly led to some forms of oppression and subjection, one must question Butlers analysis of metaphysical substance. ]

Butlers deconstruction of sex, involves a critique of giving ontological significance to certain areas of the body-namely the penis, vagina, and breasts. According to Butler, the ontological significance of these organs has been created precisely because of the heterosexual reproductive matrix. Gender and sex have thus been divided along these precise lines of male/penis and female/vagina. [7] There seems to be a vast array of empirical evidence that would dispute the insignificance of both the vagina and penis.

First, nature shows a general sexual significance to males and females in all mammalian creatures. Sex differentiation is a fact. Some people do have penises and some do have vaginas. It seems vastly counter-sensory to suggest that these organs are insignificant. There significance is brought to light, in the fact that they (and the reproductive tissues that accompany them) are the only physical differences between the sexes. Second, Butler seems to suggest that the heterosexual identity has enforced an eroticizing of these physical attributes over others, thus enforcing heterosexual relations. ]

However, the human physical orgasm only happens through the stimulation of the sexual areas, exceptions being the few women who seem to reach orgasm through nipple stimulation alone. However, for the rest of us, the only recourse to the physical and mental state of orgasm is through contact with these organs. Perhaps, sexuality has been too constricted to only sexualizing the genital regions. If this is what Butler is attempting to say, then she has hit upon something that is very true. However, to simply assert that physical genitals have arisen in importance because of a heterosexual matrix is utterly ridiculous.

If anything, genital preoccupation and idolization, has come about precisely because of the physical pleasure associated with it. Granted, womens physical pleasure has been conveniently absent for millennia in Western society. Female sexuality, as Butler shows, has been predominantly interpreted through a reproductive framework, instead of focusing on the aspects of sexual pleasure. If all Butler is attempting to say, is that these genitals have defined in terms of a heterosexual identity and function, which is built on unstable foundations, she is correct.

Only if one holds reproduction as an absolute can one possibly formulate the idolization of heterosexuality. However, Butler may seem to have an ally in technology itself, in the form of contraceptives, which trouble the perceived naturalness of heterosexual gender categories. Butler is too dismissive of reason and empirical enquiry as part of the heterosexual matrix. [9] Butler would do well to recognize that science has done much to destabalize sexual relations and categories. Contraceptives have allowed an unparalleled level of freedom to women to pursue a more open sexuality, one not constrained to reproduction.

Butlers lack of regard for empirical, scientific concerns is a major flaw in her analysis. While not being a scientist, and much more of a philosopher, Butler cannot be so dismissive of certain axiomatic metaphysical claims, claims that at their root (the validity of shared sensory perception) are necessary for any reasonable discourse to take place. Butler, in her second chapter, Prohibition, Psychoanalysis, and the Heterosexual Matrix, analyzes the heterosexual matrix using psychoanalytic theory and various radical gender theorists. Butler employs such authors as Freud, Levi-Strauss, Lacan, Foucault, and Riviere.

Her interweaving analysis is painstakingly complex. Often times these authors are presented to contradict one another, but Butler rarely provides any means to resolution or in the least a dialectical synthesis of their thought. Butler ponderously formulates the heterosexual matrix through both the incest taboo and the homosexual prohibition that logically precedes it. The incest taboo operates to maintain heterosexual relations by using a veiled homosexual intercourse between men, in which women are traded to men, thus maintaining a masculinist hierarchy.

It is ironic to note that a compulsive heterosexuality requires a passive homosexuality. Indeed, Butler maintains the heterosexual matrix requires an intelligible conception of homosexuality[10] and its prohibition of that conception[11] to preserve its intelligibility. This would seem to follow along the same methodological lines as good being only conceivable with its antithesis of evil. However, are ethical and sociological phenomena only perceivable and enforceable, when their antitheses exist?

While Augustine answered this question saying that evil is merely the privation of the good, instead of existent in itself, it does not seem intuitively correct to merely assert that evil is in fact illusionary or the good privated or misapplied. A compulsive heterosexuality would seem to need an unethical homosexuality to maintain any coherence. For how could one speak of heterosexuality without it? Language is built on referencing, and without the antithesis of homosexuality, heterosexuality would cease to even exist as a word and perhaps as a behavior.

However, Butler is also speaking to a more sociological and cultural phenomenon than just philosophical talk. Butler uses the concept of melancholia[12] to explain how early libidinal homosexual drives are subverted into a heterosexual framework. This melancholia is hard to exactly define because of Butlers annoying preoccupation with wordiness and ambiguous language. However, melancholia seems to operate by the internalization of the tabooed object of desire. [13] By internalizing an object of same-sex love, the person can move beyond the object to the proper culturalized heterosexual object.

The prohibition of the object leads to its internalization. [14] The internalization, thus acts as a preservation mechanism, allowing both the preservation of the same-sex love-object and the supposed proper mode of heterosexual ontology. The heterosexual matrix is thus completed, through the displacing of early homosexual libidinality by the egos use of melancholia. The above paragraph may seem needlessly complex. The reader is right. In this second chapter, even more than the first and last chapters, Butler barrages the reader with terms, theorists, and ideas, using long sentences and words of the academy.

The reader is so intimidated by the complexity of the thought that one is almost forced into acquiescence. Martha C. Nussbaum provides an excellent critique of this aspect of Butler, stating: In this way obscurity creates an aura of importance. It also serves another related purpose. It bullies the reader into granting that, since one cannot figure out what is going on, there must be something significant going on, some complexity of thought, where in reality there are often familiar or even shopworn notions, addressed too simply and too casually to add any new dimension of understanding.

When the bullied readers of Butler’s books muster the daring to think thus, they will see that the ideas in these books are thin. When Butler’s notions are stated clearly and succinctly, one sees that, without a lot more distinctions and arguments, they don’t [sic] go far, and they are not especially new. Thus obscurity fills the void left by an absence of a real complexity of thought and argument. [15] Butlers thought is curiously devoid of a holistic approach. Instead, it seems to focus primarily on abstract notions of thought, with little connection to reality.

Although to be fair, the very conception of reality is disputed by Butler as part of the heterosexual matrix. However, the reader still longs for some empirical verification that would connect the text to some sort of ontological certainty. The reader finds none of this and is left in an intellectual quandary. Butlers convoluted style impinges its comprehension. The whole book suffers from simplistic views wrapped in sophistry. Recognizing this fact, the journal Philosophy and Literature, awarded Butler with first prize in the annual Bad Writing contest, for the following sentence:

The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power. 6]

One wonders if Butler ever took a first year writing class in college. The sentence, typical of her style, is so long, that by the time one finishes it and defines all the terms, one is exhausted to even analyze the truth of her claims. Complex terms, concepts, and words, such as: structuralist, capital, homologous, hegemony, power relations, convergence, rearticulation, temporality, Althusserian theory, and totalities, all evidence her outrageousness.

German continental philosophy has often been accused of very much the same thing, but Butler takes these absurdities to new heights. Butler begins her third chapter, Subversive Body Acts, with a thorough deconstruction of the heterosexual matrix. This chapter and her conclusion, From Parody to Politics, explore what gender is or could be, envisioning an antifoundationalism. [17] Like her coalitional politics, which do not presuppose an outcome, Butlers gender theory is a forward looking one, with the only criteria seeming to be the troubling of the binary categories.

Butler deconstructs this binary interpretive device as not naturalistic or having ontological significance, but rather as a self-fulfilling foundation, that operates in a circular fashion, maintaining its own coherence and viability by its structures of identity. [18] Butlers somewhat fascinating approach to gender is evidenced in her multiplicity of genders. Instead of a binary conception, she asks, why not three, four, or five?

Western philosophy has remained famous for its excessive dichotomizing and dualizing nature, whether it is mind-body, fact-value, spirit-flesh, God-man, gay-straight, feminine-masculine, or nature-nurture. Butlers refreshing multiplicity allows for an open-ended conception of gender that strays away from the heterosexual need to polarize reality. While dichotomies will always exist and are not always wrong, Butler shows these dichotomies to be hurtful and illusionary in gender formation.

Obviously, the whole of Butlers book is trying to assert that gender is a social artifice. She has quite adequately deconstructed the circular notions of the heterosexual matrix that keeps its intelligibility. Butler uses gay and lesbian notions of gender and sexuality to show that their very presence and articulation allows for a troubling of these gender categories. An acceptable homosexuality by its nature subverts the heterosexual matrix, by giving new ontological significance to differing body parts and locales.

The presence of gay and lesbian activity destroys the heterosexual matrix of identity, constituting an almost political act. Stating as much, Butler writes: The structuring presence of heterosexual constructs within gay and lesbian sexuality does not mean that those constructs determine gay and lesbian sexuality nor that gay and lesbian sexuality are derivable or reducible to those constructs. Indeed, consider the dis-empowering and denaturalizing effects of a specifically gay deployment of heterosexual constructs.

The presence of these norms not only constitute a site of power that cannot be refused, but they can and do become the site of parodic contest and display that robs compulsory heterosexuality of its claims to naturalness and originality. [19] An example of this parodic and comedic homosexual display of heterosexual norms can be found in the common usage of top and bottom in gay culture. These terms parallel the male and female terms employed in heterosexual culture. The top is said to be the sexually aggressive partner who penetrates the submissive bottom partner.

The appropriation of heterosexual norms within a homosexual matrix shows the foolishness of a compulsory heterosexuality. Butlers analysis in this regard is quite insightful. Social conservatives, who see homosexuals as ontological political revolutionaries, would seem to have an ally in Butler. The crucial difference is that Butler applauds the revolution, while the conservatives rally against it. Butlers main political argument is contained in her gender as performative.

Gender is not a specific psychological identity, rooted in the ontological essence of a person. Rather, gender is created through the performance of the adherents. [20] People establish the categories of gender by continuously upholding and acting upon the accepted norms of the respective gender categories. In essence, one acts like a man and thus is one. Paradoxically, the troubling of these binary gender categories takes place through the very means that institute them. Through acts, gestures, and speech, we have the power to trouble the gender categories.

Feminism And Gender Equality In The 1990’s

Overall, the rights and status of women have improved considerably in the last century; however, gender equality has recently been threatened within the last decade. Blatantly sexist laws and practices are slowly being eliminated while social perceptions of “women’s roles” continue to stagnate and even degrade back to traditional ideals. It is these social perceptions that challenge the evolution of women as equal on all levels. In this study, I will argue that subtle and blatant sexism continues to exist throughout educational, economic, professional and legal arenas.

Women who carefully follow their expected roles may never recognize sexism as an oppressive force in their life. I find many parallels between women’s experiences in the nineties with Betty Friedan’s, in her essay: The Way We Were – 1949. She dealt with a society that expected women to fulfill certain roles. Those roles completely disregarded the needs of educated and motivated business women and scientific women. Actually, the subtle message that society gave was that the educated woman was actually selfish and evil.

I remember in particular the searing effect on me, who once intended to be a sychologist, of a story in McCall’s in December 1949 called “A Weekend with Daddy. ” A little girl who lives a lonely life with her mother, divorced, an intellectual know-it-all psychologist, goes to the country to spend a weekend with her father and his new wife, who is wholesome, happy, and a good cook and gardener. And there is love and laughter and growing flowers and hot clams and a gourmet cheese omelet and square dancing, and she doesn’t want to go home.

But, pitying her poor mother typing away all by herself in the lonesome apartment, she keeps her guilty secret that from now on she ill be living for the moments when she can escape to that dream home in the country where they know “what life is all about. ” (See Endnote #1) I have often consulted my grandparents about their experiences, and I find their historical perspective enlightening. My grandmother was pregnant with her third child in 1949. Her work experience included: interior design and modeling women’s clothes for the Sears catalog.

I asked her to read the Friedan essay and let me know if she felt as moved as I was, and to share with me her experiences of sexism. Her immediate reaction as to point out that “Betty Friedan was a college educated woman and she had certain goals that never interested me. ” My grandmother, though growing up during a time when women had few social rights, said she didn’t experience oppressive sexism in her life. However, when she describes her life accomplishments, I feel she has spent most of her life fulfilling the expected roles of women instead of pursuing goals that were mostly reserved for men.

Unknowingly, her life was controlled by traditional, sexist values prevalent in her time and still prevalent in the nineties. Twenty-four years after the above article from McCall’s magazine was written, the Supreme Court decided whether women should have a right to an abortion in Roe v. Wade (410 U. S. 113 (1973)). I believe the decision was made in favor of women’s rights mostly because the court made a progressive decision to consider the woman as a human who may be motivated by other things in life than just being a mother.

Justice Blackmun delivered the following opinion: Maternity, or additional offspring, may force upon the woman a distressful life and future. Psychological harm may be imminent. Mental and physical health may be taxed by child care. There is also a distress, for all concerned, associated with the unwanted child, and there is the problem of bringing a child into a family already unable, psychologically and otherwise, to care for it. In other cases, as in this one, the additional difficulties and continuing stigma of unwed motherhood may be involved. See Endnote #2)

I feel the court decision of Roe v. Wade would not have been made in 1949. Even in 1973, it was a progressive decision. The problem of abortion has existed for the ntire history of this country (and beyond), but had never been addressed because discussing these issues was not socially acceptable. A culture of not discussing issues that have a profound impact on women is a culture that encourages women to be powerless. The right of abortion became a major issue. Before 1970, about a million abortions were done every year, of which only about ten thousand were legal.

Perhaps a third of the women having illegal abortions – mostly poor people – had to be hospitalized for complications. How many thousands died as a result of these illegal abortions no one really knows. But the illegalization of abortion clearly worked against the poor, for the rich could manage either to have their baby or to have their abortion under safe conditions. (See Endnote #3) A critic of the women’s movement would quickly remind us that women have a right to decline marriage and sex, and pursue their individual interests.

However, I would argue that the social pressure women must endure if they do not conform to their expected role is unfair. The problem goes beyond social conformity and crosses into government intervention (or lack thereof). The 1980’s saw the pendulum swing against the women’s ovement. Violent acts against women who sought abortions became common and the government was unsympathetic to the victims. There are parallels between the Southern Black’s civil rights movement and the women’s movement: Blacks have long been accustomed to the white government being unsympathetic to violent acts against them.

During the civil rights movement, legal action seemed only to come when a white civil rights activist was killed. Women are facing similar disregard presently, and their movement is truly one for civil rights. A national campaign by the National Organization of Women began on 2 March 1984, emanding that the US Justice Department investigate anti-abortion terrorism. On 1 August federal authorities finally agreed to begin to monitor the violence. However, Federal Bureau of Investigation director, William Webster, declared that he saw no evidence of “terrorism.

Only on 3 January 1985, in a pro-forma statement, did the President criticize the series of bombings as “violent anarchist acts” but he still refused to term them “terrorism. ” Reagan deferred to Moral Majoritarian Jerry Falwell’s subsequent campaign to have fifteen million Americans wear “armbands” on 22 January 985, “one for every legal abortion” since 1973. Falwell’s anti-abortion outburst epitomized Reaganism’s orientation: “We can no longer passively and quietly wait for the Supreme Court to change their mind or for Congress to pass a law. ” Extremism on the right was no vice, moderation no virtue.

Or, as Hitler explained in Mein Kamph, “The very first essential for success is a perpetually constant and regular employment of violence. ” (See Endnote #4) This mentality continued on through 1989 during the Webster v. Reproductive Health Services (109 S. Ct. 3040 (1989)) case. The Reagan Administration had urged the Supreme Court to use this case as the basis for overturning Roe v. Wade. ” (See Endnote #5) It is disturbing that the slow gains achieved by the women’s movement are so volatile and endangered when conservative administrations gain a majority in government.

To put the problem into perspective: a woman’s right to have an abortion in this country did not come until 1973. Less than two decades later, the president of the United States is pushing to take that right away. It seems blatant that society is bent on putting women in their places. From the above examples, it appears American culture prefers women as non- professional, non-intellectual, homemakers and mothers. This mentality is not easily resolved, because it is introduced at a young age. Alice Brooks experienced inequality on the basis of her race and her sex.

In her autobiography, A Dream Deferred, she recalls the reaction of her father when she brought up the idea of college to him: I found a scholarship for veterans’ children and asked my father to sign and furnish proof that he was a veteran. He refused and told me that I was only going to get married nd have babies. I needed to stay home and help my mother with her kids. My brother needed college to support a family. Not only was I not going to get any help, I was also tagged as selfish because I wanted to go to college. See Endnote #6)

This is another example of women being labeled as selfish for wanting the same opportunities as men. Alice Brooks is a very courageous woman; seemingly able to overcome any oppression she may encounter. During her presentation to our class, she said that “women who succeed in male dominated fields are never mediocre – they are extraordinary achievers. Her insight encapsulates much of the subtle sexism that exists today. I feel that no one can truly be equal in a society when only the “extraordinary achievers” are allowed to succeed out of their expected social role.

This attitude of rising blatant and subtle attacks on women’s civil rights is further exemplified in recent reactions to affirmative action plans. These plans have been devised to try to give women and minorities an opportunity to participate in traditionally white male dominated areas. However, we see the same trends in legal action for the use of ffirmative action plans as we saw in the 1980’s backlash against the Roe v. Wade decision. A few interesting points were presented in the case, Johnson v. Transportation Agency, Santa Clara (480 U. S. 616 (1987)). Mr.

Paul E. Johnson filed suit against the Santa Clara County Transportation Agency when he was denied a promotion, feeling the company’s affirmative action plan denied him of his civil rights. Some interesting facts were presented in this case: Specifically, 9 of the 10 Para-Professionals and 110 of the 145 Office and Clerical Workers were women. By contrast, women were only 2 of the 28 Officials and Administrators, 5 of the 58 Professionals, 12 of the 124 Technicians, none of the Skilled Crafts Workers, and 1 – who was Joyce – of the 110 Road Maintenance Workers. See Endnote # 7)

The above statistics show women have been considerably underrepresented at the Santa Clara County Transportation Agency. These numbers are not uncommon and are found throughout business. It is interesting to note the current popular perception is that affirmative action precludes white males from finding employment with companies that implement these plans. The truth is in the numbers, however. The fact that Mr. Johnson elt he was denied his civil rights because an equally qualified woman was given a promotion, instead of him, is just a small window into the subtle sexism that exists today.

Most critics of affirmative action do not consider the grossly unequal numbers of men in management and professional positions. Secondly, it never seems an issue of debate that a woman may have had no other previous life opportunities in these male dominated areas. I do not intend to argue that affirmative action is good or bad, but only wish to point out that the current backlash against these programs is heavily rooted in sexism and racism. Often blatant violence or unfair acts against a group of people will cause that group to pull together and empower themselves against their oppressors.

The women’s movement has made large steps to eliminate many of these blatantly sexist acts in the last century. Now the real difficulty is upon us: subtle acts of sexism and the degrading social roles of women in today’s conservative culture. Alice Brooks so eloquently described her experiences with inequality, stating, “the worse pain came from those little things people said or did to me. ” As these “little things” accumulate in the experience of a young oman, she increasingly finds herself powerless in her relationships, employment, economics, and society in general.

The female child has as many goals as the male child, but statistically she is unable to realize these goals because of the obstacles that society sets in front of her. Society and media attempt to create an illusion that women have every right that men enjoy. However, women will never be equal until the day female scientists, intellectuals, professionals, military leaders, and politicians are just as accepted and encouraged to participate in all of society’s arenas as males.

The evolution of men and women

The evolution of men and women, how the roles in society have changed. Over the last five hundred or so years women have come a long way. We have seen in the Sixteen hundreds arranged marriages where the woman had no say in the union, and the relationships were is based on money or prestige (Shakespeare 1668). Presently we see love is the driving factor. In 1997 a study was done to say forty-six percent of marriages end in divorce (Harvey1996). In the Sixteen hundreds there were no studies done, but far fewer marriages ended in divorce. That word was not even in the vocabulary. What is the reason for this?

We have more choices, more money, and more technology. Communication between men and women is the heart of the issue. We do have more choices and that makes it much easier to give up on the one element in our society that has not change over thousands of years. We can look back to the beginning of time and see how Adam and Eve struggled to communicate. We see this illustrated with the fall of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3. 1-20). Roles have changed, but communication between the sexes has not. William Shakespeare had such a real grasp on the relationships between men and women.

His timeless work has shown us that the past relationships between the sexes involved many communication issues no matter what the roles were. In Much Ado About Nothing he contrasts many complicated relationships. He includes men and women in love and men and women in family. The common element is the confusing conversations that have many meanings (pp. 39-43). We see very deceiving tactics used to confirm relationships and form unions (pp. 349-359). As the centuries pass do we see the same approach to relationships between the sexes?

The times may have changed but the rules have not. Looking at the Eighteen hundreds through Virginia Wolfs eyes gives us a unique view into the changing minds of women and their role in society. She wrote of women who were more involved in society and decision making. This is a gradual, but necessary, realization for society. She changed the thoughts of women but not their outward communication with men. Many thoughts of the female characters show a more modern thought process, but they are not able to say what they are thinking or feeling.

This truly depicts a very oppressed gender. It was said that Virginia Wolf changed the literature of the future. Did Virginia Wolf open a small window into how women think, or did she blow a hole in the small-minded perception of how men think women think. She has many thought provoking verses in her text to show how times were changing and so were women (p. 63). Not to mention, men were trying to figure out women (p. 86). Time moves forward a hundred years or so. What changes do we see? Is there a more independent relationship between men and women?

The development of the roles just adds to the misunderstandings and the torment of the opposite sexes. We see how a more independent outspoken woman gets into a more complicated circle of mis-communications and relationship problems. We once again see the inability of man and women to make themselves understood. The female character that is the lover to the English patient has picked a complex life and role, but with all of her independence she still manages to torture herself, her husband, and her lover (Ondaatjes 1992).

Does this show a better understanding of the opposite sex or just how much more complicated life becomes with the changing of the times? Looking at the last 100 years everything has become more complex. We have gone from horse and buggy to automobiles and space shuttles. We have seen women go from homemakers to rocket scientist. We have seen technology change how we treat diseases and how we eliminate our enemies. We have more knowledge in an instant than we could have read in a decade.

With all of this fascinating and unbelievable information there are still thousands and thousands of books being published and purchased that express one thing: How to communicated with the opposite sex. In the present, we see one of the most popular self-help seminars turn into a million-dollar industry. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus started out to be a relationship guide of understanding by Dr. John Gray, but became a turning point for the greater understanding between the sexes. He has taken relationship issues to the mountaintop. He shows us how very ifferent men and women are.

No matter what role women and men play in society, we all speak a different language. Roles will always change, but the only way for communication to evolve is to understand the language being spoken by the opposite sex (Gray 1992). There are daily changes in society and technology. These changes only affect the outside roles for men and women. There will always be room for change. We will always find ourselves in a society with new thoughts and ideas. As we grow as a society, the issues blocking effective communication will get bigger and more complicated.

Our only defense is to try hard, working each and everyday to embrace our differences, while trying to learn the others language. We can learn from literature. Our history is the key to growth. Communication is the ever changing and never changing part of our past and future. We will never find men and women thinking the same. Who we are will always be different, and for that reason alone we will always have to learn how to deal with each other. How dull would life be if we knew exactly how to handle the opposite sex?

Men and Women were Created Equal

Men are not superior to women, they are equal in every way. Although it is true that society has stereotyped women into traditional roles, this preconceived notion, is totally false. Action to promote the concept of equality in our society needs to be taken. Women have been fighting for equality for many decades. As a result of this battle, some amazing transformations have taken place amongst the female gender. Women have become educated and over the last few decades have started to take active roles and their rightful place in society.

They have made major inroads in working opportunities, including government, science and even the military. They are reshaping world history and are very proud. Internationally, women have achieved the highest office in several countries, such as: Indira Gandhi of India, Golda Meir of Israel, and Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain. Hilary Clinton is currently running for a senate seat in New York and if she is successful, could one day follow in her husbands footsteps and become the first female President of the United States.

These women have all obtained equal roles and respect as leaders of their countries similar to Bill Clinton and Jean Chretien. Other examples of women who have favourably impacted on todays society are the late Mother Theresa and Lady Diana. These ladies tireless efforts for the good of humanity impacted the whole world. Only in the 20th century, and most recently in the last 20 years, have women overcome social barriers and been allowed to obtain a scientific education. Today, women are becoming an ever-increasing percentage of the scientific and medical work force.

In 1982 Barbara McClintock won the Nobel Prize for her discovery of mobile genetic elements. Her discovery was that genes could jump around on chromosomes. This discovery was the basis of todays advances in genetic engineering. The Nobel Prize Committee called McClintocks work one of the two great discoveries of our time in genetics. The other was the earlier discovery of the double helix shape of DNA. 2 Another example of women sharing an equal role in todays society is demonstrated in the military.

Todays women joining the Canadian Armed Forces are equally eligible with men for combat roles. Over 229,000 women serve on active duty in the military services of the Department of Defense. This monumental step allows women to become takers, as well as producers of life. Women now have equal rights and responsibilities in the defense of our country. These advances have been made, not only on the ground but in the air as well. In 1988, Deanna Brasseur became Canadas first female fighter pilot.

That same year, the defense department appointed their first female general, Sheila Hellstrom. The department also stated that women often do better at riflery than men due to the fact that they listen to instruction while men tend to think they know it all. A male veteran sergeant, proud of his work with female recruits, says that: Todays women wont find anything that hard to adjust to in the military. The facts are telling a tale. Many doors are opening for women and they are barreling through with boundless energy and determination.

The 21st century is here and the traditional role of the stay-at-home mother is all but disappeared. Marriage and children are still signs of the successful women, however women are less willing to accept exclusive roles of housewife and mother. More and more women are entering the labor market as education has provided them with the tools they need to be viewed and become equals with men in todays society. This does not mean however, that their parenting role is any less significant.

They have successfully learned how to balance both, effectively and efficiently. Whether male or female, it is important to keep an open mind and judge people based on their abilities and actions rather than on biased media attention and old stereotypical views. Adopting this concept will alleviate the long standing debate of superiority concerning males and females. The government needs to continue to support pay equity and other actions to demonstrate the equal roles of women and men in Canada.

Gender Differences between Men and Women

Is it their homes, parents, religion, or maybe where they live? When do they get one? Do they get it when they understand right from wrong, or when they can read, or are they born with it? Everyone has one and nobody has the same, is there a point in everyone’s life when they get one? A person’s identity is his own, nobody put it there and nobody can take it out. Everyone in this world has a different identity because they all make their own over the course of their life. A person’s identity also causes a person to have masculine and feminine traits.

There is no one thing that gives a person their identity, there are however many different factors that contribute to one’s identity. What is someone’s identity? Is it the way they look, the way they dress, or it could be many things all put together, or is it none of the above? To me someone’s identity is a part of their being. Nobody will ever hold it, touch it, or even see it, but it is there. Everybody has one, it guilds your decision making, your thoughts, ideas, and dreams. You may think something is terrible while someone else does not even care and yet another person may laugh, why?

The answer is simple, everyone has his own identity and personality. Everyone feels, acts, thinks, and dreams differently. People may have some of these things in common with one another, but they will not be totally the same, it is like a fingerprint, unique. There are many origins to a person’s identity, their family, friends, home life, religion, environment and others. But how does it get there, you do not go into a store and pick on off the shelf. A person’s identity is developed over many years and put together by the person themselves.

It comes from the individuals ability to think, reason and form an opinion. Nobody has the same mind, or the same or the same conscious, so how could anyone have the same identity as another. A person’s identity is developed over many years from the time they become aware of their surroundings, to the time they decide if they are going to college, and even as they grow old there identity will change with them. As people’s dreams are dreamed and goals are accomplished their identities will change with the individual. Their aspirations and values will change, causing their identities to change with it.

It may be a slight alteration or a major overhaul but there identity will adjust to the person. One of the factors of forming an identity will obviously be your family. One’s family if invaluable to them. Your family may not be your biological parents or ever a blood relative at all, but nobody in this world can live from birth without some one. But no matter who it is, they will be the people who take care of you when you are sick or aid you when you need help. These people will be there with you for a long time and yes they will have a major impact on what you turn out to be it the future.

A lot off people are fortunate enough to live with a mother and a father, they may ever have some brothers and sisters to play with as they grow up. But ever with the same family influences, brothers and sisters still do not have the same identities Some may even say having a “traditional” family would be bad for the development of an identity. For example, what kind identity would a young girl develop if see repeatedly saw her father beat on her mother. She would probably not feel the same as another girl whose father always showed love and caring for her mother.

What about a teenager who used drugs as often as he changed his underwear. Would his younger brother, in looking up to him, feel the same as another boy who grew up never seeing an illegal drug before. If family members have no regard for keeping the other members of the family on the right path to being a good person, then what will they become. A large part of how someone turns out is due to the family. A good , solid, caring family may give rise to a kinder, gentler person than a family that does not care whether the children get into trouble.

Kids grow up seeing their parents and how they act, or not seeing their parents at all. Proper parenting will lead to better identities in there children. Gender is a major cause for a person’s identity. A person might act a certain way because of the gender that is given to them. It is often referred that a person might act a certain way because it is in their nature. A person’s nature is a major reason that causes a persons identity. A person might be mentally sick and just go crazy on people. This is part of the person’s nature, he is going to do what his nature compels him to.

A person’s nature might also influence a person to act like a man or a woman. A man might be a man but have feminine traits. This is the nature of his mind. Nature and identity also characterize how the person acts. The nature of someone might make someone act stronger in their own sex. Identity can be seen in even the youngest of children as soon a a child is ready to make their own decision, no matter how trivial the decision might be, the child is starting to create his or her own identity and define their own nature. This nature can be seen in children too.

One child’s nature might make a little girl act like a boy, also called a tomboy. This means that the girl just like to play with boys and do ‘boy’ things. While another girl, with a different mentality, might play with Barbie dolls and dress in a pink dress. Nature and identity might make a woman act the way that she does. In the stories The Astronomers Wife by Kate Boyle and A Respectable Woman by Kate Chopin the woman are defiantly feminine. Maybe they are too feminine for their husbands who seemingly cannot satisfy their women fully. If the husbands were doing their ‘job’ in the women would not be cheating on them.

The husbands seemingly cannot satisfy their women fully or they wouldn’t be interested in others. Either the women needs mental satisfaction or physical satisfaction. Another reason a woman would cheat on her husband is it might be part of her identity, a part of who she is. In this case there probably is no chance that she will not cheat on her husband. A person’s nature might cause a person to want and need things that they already have. Why else would a man, who has a faithful wife for years, cheat on her wife someone whom he probably barely knows.

Siblings grow up together, they play together, and they have fun together. But eventually they will get there own friends and make there own decisions, this also leads to a person’s identity. Not all people like all the same things or people. Joe may be friends with Larry, and Larry may like Bob, but Joe may not like Bob. There is no reason to hate each other, they just do not mix. Friends also play a part in a person’s developing an identity, they are also a good indicator of one’s identity. Whether you hang around wall street all day or you work on your farm all day, may tell a little about your identity.

Neither is better than the other but they probably have different interests and likes. That does not mean they can not be friends and get along, they will just be different. A person’s religion can also play a big role in one’s identity. People who grow up belonging to a religion would be a lot more likely to continue on with it when they grow older than someone who never believed in one, to start. Religion can have a rather large effect on a person forming an identity. If a person learns to treat others with respect and kindness as they were young, they may keep it with them as they turn into adults.

On the other hand a religion could have negative effects on a person’s identity. For instance, belonging to a cult that believes in sacrificing animals or even humans would not give a person a very nice identity. Especially when compared to a person who grew up as a practicing Roman Catholic. A person’s beliefs can easily lead a person into making a decision, especially regarding ethics or kindness. The person growing up not caring about anything but themselves could easily make a different choice than a person that was taught to be respectful to other people.

However this is not always the case, religion can only work if the person decides to follow it and adhere to it. A person who goes to church every Sunday with their parents and does not care about it will probably not have a large religious effect on their identity, it may even cause the person to think “who needs religion, it is useless. ” A person’s identity is his own, they make it and develop it however they choose to. Religion may play a part, or not, it may be bad or good, but the individual has the final say. Your environment does not just mean your outside surroundings, this also refers to your home.

People live en all kinds of homes and I do not mean a ranch or a cabin. Your home life is also your environment. Is it clean and neat or is it bug infested and dirty. Kids growing up in all kinds of homes will form different identities. Will they be “neat freaks” or will they not care how they live in their houses. It is a shame to see people living in filthy, run down places. The kids who come out of neat, clean homes would probably be different in how they look at dirt and grime. Do they care or not? Men and women are different because of society has set them up with.

It is observed for men to be strong and women to be weak. Also it is in the mentality of the person who is making the comparison to choose how a woman or man is supposed to think. For example one man might think women should be in the house all day making food, cleaning, and making babies. On the other hand another man might like to stay home and take care of the kids and the house while the wife works. In today’s society they are both acceptable but the second choice is becoming an ever more popular choice. Another mentality that a man might have is that all women are ’sluts’ and ‘bitches’.

If this mode of thought is used then the person probably has very little respect for a woman. Many rap stars have this mentality about woman. “Bitches ain’t sh*t but hoes and tricks…” (Dr. Dre). This is a line from Dr. Dre’s album The Chronic. The is the type of thinking that might lead someone to think that all women cheat on their husbands. In the story The Astronomer’s Wife by Kate Boyle, the husband was asleep probably had no idea that his wife was about to cheat on him with the plumber it probably never even crossed his mind.

Also in A Respectable Woman by Kate Chopin, the wife tries to be honest and true but she has a lot of feeling for a man whom she does not really know. The husband trusts his wife greatly he wants her to be friends with his friend, but the wife has something different in mind. She wants the man sexually. The husband has no idea of her intentions. There are many reasons that make men and women act the way they do. It could be a number of possibilities but mostly is the way they were raised. However with all these factors related to forming an identity the most important and most influential is the person themselves.

We see people every day, some whom we want to be like and some we hope we never turn out like. With all the other outside factors to guide and help or push and hamper, the individual has the last say. You are the only on who says what you want to be like over the course of your life. Nobody will ever get inside your mind and do the thinking for you. Nobody can influence you, you may feel as if you are being forced to do something but you do not have to do anything. You make the final decision. However you act, think, and speak is totally up to you.

People grow up all coming from all different kinds of places, backgrounds and families. They will all have different identities. Gender affects the decisions made by people. Their identity and the ‘nature’ of the person makes them act the way they do. Nobody is the same and nobody will ever be. All the outside influences will have an effect on their identities but the individual has the last word on it. Nobody is the same because each person will form his own identity to what ever they want to be like.

Gender Roles In Language

A businessman is aggressive; a businesswoman is pushy. A businessman is good on details; she is picky…. He follows through; she doesnt know when to quit. He stands firm; she is hard…. His judgements are her prejudices. He is a man of the world; shes been around. He isnt afraid to say what is on his mind; she is mouthy. He excersises authority diligently; shes power mad. Hes closemouthed; shes secretive. He climbed the ladder of success; she slept her way to the top.

From How to Tell a Businessman from a Businesswoman, Graduate School of management UCLA. From the first moment a child begins to understand the spoken word, they begin to receive messages about society view of the different sexes. Language itself can not be deemed good or bad, but it does reflect individual or societal values. The above example displays the way in which language can be used to stereotype gender. Both sexes in the example are behaving in the same way but the language used has separated them, praising the male whilst disparaging the female.

In order to explore the differences between males and females regarding language we must look at whether or not language is sexist, whether it is used differently by different genders and how language has changed, if at all, in relation to these points. Womens roles in society have changed considerably over time, and they are now valued more than ever in society. Chafetz (1990) has claimed that this has largely arisen due to the media. She says that newspapers and magazines now largely avoid sexist language, and even advertisers have changed their depiction of both genders to some degree.

Universities have expanded their curricula to include courses for women, even hospitals have changed their policies pertaining to childbirth in directions originally propounded by womens movement activities; i. e. developing birthing centres etc. These examples are merely a few of the multitudes of changes that have occurred. Trask (1995) has pointed out that the utilisation of language differs with gender. For instance, women have more of a tendency to use finer discriminations than men do in some areas such as colour terms.

Women would be more at ease using the labels crimson, ecru, or beige, than men and men would be found to use the simpler version: Its blue, not cornflower; what the hell is cornflower (my dad when looking at paint. ) Trask also noted that men have a tendency to drop more expletives into a conversation than women, although some women do swear, especially younger females (just sit in a student common lounge for a while to back this up); which is becoming worringly commonplace.

Jeperson,an early linguist, included a chapter on The woman in his book Language: Its Nature, Development and Origin (1922). He claims that the womens contribution to the language is to maintain its purity, caused by the way they shrink from coarseness and vulgarity. ( A totally outmoded theory. ): There can be no doubt that women excersise a great and universal influence on linguistic development through their instinctive shrinking from coarse and vulgar expressions and their preference for refined, and (in certain spheres) veiled and indirect expression.

Jespersen 1922. He does maintain, however, that it is mens language which is endowed with vigour, imagination and creativity. Without it, he states, there is a danger of the language becoming languid and insipid. He goes on to claim that women have a smaller vocabulary than men and that which they do have they tend to misuse. As examples he quotes that women use intensifying adverbs with disregard of their proper meaning, as in the German riesig klein (gigantically small), the English awfully pretty, and terribly nice….. Danish raedsimt morosom (awfully funny). 922)

He claims that women also suffer from an inability to finish sentences and while there is more talk from women there is less substance. Talbot assures us that none of these claims were based on evidence but were mere conjecture on Jespersens part. She goes on to add that the women that he encountered may well have ahd smaller vocabulary than the men, but that women then were often denied the education permitted to most men. She also says that the statement that women talk more is a familiar folklinguistic claim and that there is not a substantuial bodyof evidence to the contrary.

She adds that it has been suggested (by Spender 1985, for instance) that the volume of womens talk has not been measured against mens but against silence. Perhaps a more controversial issue raised by Trask, is the likelihood for women to drop more tag questions into the conversation; ending statements with isnt it? , arent I? or havent you?. This gives the impression that a women wants or needs some sort of reassurance from whoever she is talking to. Women also tend to start sentences with I might be wrong or Its just an idea but.. , apologising in advance for their existence or showing a lack of confidence.

Although this may not be picked up on by many women, it shows a subordinate side to women, surely they shouldnt need to have reassurance from a man, as they are or should just as confident and capable of judging for themselves. It is also claimed by Trask that men interrupt a conversation more often than women do; which may come as a surprise to many men who seem to think it is the other way round. Another interesting piece of research by Trask has shown that a womans discourse tends to be co-operative whereas a mans, on the other hand, tends to be competitive.

Trask argues that this is due to womens capacity to sympathise with others and to support the contribution of others. Conversely, men are seen to compete with one another in conversation, trying to outshine one another and scoring points off each other; arguably a typical masculine characteristic. From as long ago as 1974, Fromkin and Rodman have argued that language does reflect sexism in society, although they point out that language alone is not sexist, but it can promote sexist attitudes as well as attitudes about social taboos or racism.

Fromkin and Rodman relate their discussion to some interesting examples and resort to dictionaries to clarification of terms. They found that in the American Heritage Dictionary, the terms manly courage and masculine charm were illustrated without any reference to women. This gives the impression that there is no such thing as womanly charm or even womanly courage. It is also implied that men are brave to go out and fight, and assumes the women stay away from it all, locked up in the home being passive.

Women were included in the dictionary, but not for the same reasons as men. Instead, terms cropped up such as womanish tears and feminine wiles, which are not exactly complimentary terms to be compared to. In relation to men, Franklin and Rodman highlighted that the word honorarium was defined as a payment to a professional man for services in which no fee is set or legally obtainable. Once again the description is more flattering to males than females, especially with the implication that it is only males who perform such tasks of honour.

From research conducted by Fromkin and Rodman, they found that the US American Men of Science did not change its name to include and Women until 1921, and until 1972, the womens faculty toilet doors were labelled women whilst the mens were highly labelled Officers of Instruction. I would imagine this would have been quite a set back for women, as here they were still apparently regarded as inferior, or not as highly ranked as the men, who were considered as officers. Cameron (1995) claims that the controversy over sexism the language pre dates the political correctness debate by some years.

She claims that no one who has been involved in a campaign for non sexist language, or followed one closely, will be astonished to learn that it remains a contenscious issue. Cameron draws upon reference to an article that was featured in the New York Times back in 1991 containing a brief section on avoiding sexist language. Cameron felt that this event would be insufficiently remarkable to merit editorial comment in the Times. Many tabloid newspapers over time have contained derogatory depiction of women, or at least non too flattering comments.

This is evident through the use like blonde bombshell and sexy. Men are rarely depicted in this derogatory fashion, instead they are described as handsome or smart. Cameron argues that in 1990, the university of Strathclydes Programme of Opportunities for Women Committee put out the drafting of a leaflet on gender free language. She says that the finished product, entitled gender free language: guidelines for the use of staff and students was issued to the staff in 1991, and publicised outside of the university through a press release.

It had been endorsed by the universitys governing bodies, the Senate and Court, and this information, states Cameron, was included on the leaflet, giving it some considerable status as official policy. However, in relation to civility and fairness, Cameron argues that senior people in jobs were unwittingly offending their females colleges by using non inclusive phrases like the best man for the job. She states that this is made objectionable as the women, who were already in the minority, were made to feel even more excluded.

The guidelines I mentioned earlier made much of a point of this as they claimed that sexist language could lead to alienation of female students, and so non sexist language was designed to include all the potential addresses. Cameron tells us that they asked lecturers to consider the feelings and emotions of the females in their classes, and showed that to take no account of people who were actually sitting in front of them was ill-mannered, and that the educational institution would be placing women students in an environment which was not conductive to learning.

On this issue, Cameron concludes that from a civility point of view, the point of using non sexist language is not to challenge linguistic representation of the world at large, but to avoid offending/ alienating women in the immediate context. She states that this makes sexism a matter of individual men giving offence to individual men giving offence to individual women, rather than a systematic social process. She states finally that if there were no women present at a meeting or in the class, then there would be no offence given and therefore no need to be attentive to sexism.

Going back as far as 1867, there was an attempt made in Parliament to give women the vote, although it came to be unsuccessful. Barker and Canning (1995), showed how an article, written by a female contained vocabulary which was literally begging for women to be able to vote. There were words and phrases contained such as I beg and if you are gallant enough, (referring to the men in parliament). This letter shows a weak side to women, as they give praise to the men of parliament, and almost lose respect for themselves in the process. The feminist movement has challenged assumptions over time about male and female stereotypes.

Simeone de Beauvior, an author in the 1940s, analysed womens perceptions of their roles. She stated that woman herself recognises that the world is masculine on the whole; those who fashioned it, ruled it and still dominate it today, are men. This view would now probably be challenged a great deal, especially by feminists, who say that we should over throw patriarchy. Studies of womens language use have revealed sufficient distinctive features for it to be recognised as a variety and to have earned it the name genderlect by Barker and Canning.

In their publication English Language Topics, Trudgill observed the pronunciation of male/ female speakers in Norwich and found that there was a tendency for women, especially lower middle class women, to move towards a more prestige form on more formal situations. For example, they used (ing) rather than (in) for words such as running or digging. Barker and Canning claim that sometimes the desire for correctness led to hypercorrection. For instance, they say that (h) is seen as a prestige form, but does not occur in RP in words such as honour or honest.

Dale Spender (1995), pointed out the fact that men tended to use non standard forms with covert prestige as a form of bonding (downward rather than upward convergence). Barker and Canning again show that, with regards to RP, women are more likely than men to move away from their local dialect, and towards standard grammatical forms. Chesire (from Barker and Canning 1995) carried out research concerning the speech of Reading teenagers and found very significant differences in the syntactic features of male and female groups.

The research showed that in 86% of cases, boys said the double negative in sentences such as I aint got no sweets and for girls the outcome was only 51%. Chesires study found that aint replaced hasnt or isnt in 92% of the boys cases but in only 62% of girls. Barker and Canning show that girls are more inclined to shift their style according to the social context; i. e. adopting more standard forms in classroom than in the playground. Alternatively, the boys, when alienated from the school culture, used more non standard forms in the classroom as a way of expressing rebellion.

One other connected factor, they say, is that women, in wanting the best for their children, tend to try and impose a standard of correctness for them. According to Talbot (1998) a substantial body of non-feminist work on language and gender came out of wider studies of social dialect. These were sociolinguistic studies performed in the sixties and seventies, which claimed to find a difference between the language used by men and women: namely that women in all social classes used the prestige or standard variety of a language more than men did.

The best known survey of this type having been done by Labov (1966) in New York City. Research in England involved looking into the use of ing (the prestige forms) as opposed to in (the vernacular). Peter Trudgill, a British linguist, conducted a survey in Norwich which was modelled on Labovs New York one. As with Labovs study it was intended to elicit different degrees of formality. His results showed that in most cases women were using a lower percentage of the vernacular, non-Standard variety then men in the same social category.

The only exceptions being in upper working class women in reading styles and lower middle class women in casual speech. Trudgill suggested reasons for this, he said that explanations are centered around notions of status consciousness. He claimed that women in our society are more status conscious than men, generally speaking and are therefore more aware of the social significane of linguistic variations. He also gives two possible reasons for this. Primarily he says that the social positions of women in our society are less secure than that of men, and that women are usually subordinate to that of men.

He believes that it may be on account of this that women find it more necessary to secure and signal their social positions linguistically. The second reason he gives is that men in our society are rated by their occupation, earnings, and their own abilities, in other words what they do. Therefore they may not be as concerned with how they are heard as women. Talbot points out some problems with this study. She says the first phenomenon requiring explation is why it is necessary to explain womens greater use of the prestige form rather than mens lesser use of them.

She goes on to explain that feminist critiques of this kind of study have explained this in terms of the male as norm theory. They state that the mans behaviour is normal where as the womens is a deviation that needs accounting for. The question that Talbot asks is Are women really more preoccupied with keeping up with the Joneses than men are? Several British linguists have demonstrated that the work Trudgill claims backs up this theory is very shaky indeed. It has been claimed that because women lack status, particularly thise women who are not in paid employment, they try to aquire it through the way they speak.

Talbot says that if working women could be shown to use fewer standard forms than women working in the home, then it would back up claims that women are using Standard forms in order to gain prestige. She goes on to say that in fact the research that has been done showed that women who worked in the home used fewer standard forms than women in paid employment. Talbot does conceed, however, that there are differences in the pronunciation patterns of men and women.

 

Gender Roles in the movie Showgirls

Showgirls is a definite backlash to the typical woman’s role in society. It is very interesting to me that a movie with this message is set in a normally deviant setting, when it is trying to portray the strength of a woman. I feel this is the reason that many woman did not see the film. They are offended, disgusted, and maybe even a little jealous of strippers. Strippers are able to be in control of the customers at all times. They have the power to switch the standard gender roles.

For a moment, I thought differently when Nomi was forced to give a lap dance, ut she turned the situation around when she gained part control over Crystal’s man. I admire the character Nomi for her strong will, but I am also disgusted by her. She uses every single woman stereotype to get her way. She flirts constantly, wears skimpy or no clothing, she sleeps with Crystal’s man as a retaliation toward a woman who has more prestige than herself, and many times during the movie she showed a definite fake lack of intelligence around the opposite sex.

I was also offended that every single scene with two woman in it was filled with so many lesbian connotations. During scenes with Nomi and Molly, Nomi was batting her eyelashes constantly at Molly. She even came on to Crystal at times to try and gain power in the dance world. It was not relatable to anyone at all, except for perhaps the Las Vegas dancers who have experienced this type of life. The men in Showgirls definitely had control over the women. There was no reversal in standard gender roles in these clubs. The men even acted stereotypically in revelling in their overpowerment of the norm.

Also, besides the instance when Nomi beats up the rock star, men use and buse their status over these scantily clad women throughout the movie. Nomi tried to gain control in certain situations by seducing the people she wanted to have power over, but they always turned around and Knocked her back down to her stereotypical deviant status. Also, when the rock star was part of a gang rape with Molly as the vicim, no one even thought of calling the police. The men patted Nomi on the head and told her they would get Molly enough money to start a shop instead of acknowledging Molly’s feelings in this life shattering event.

Yet, when Nomi did seek revenge for Molly’s rape, she had to leave and give up her career. The gender roles in Showgirls are all very stereotypical. The women are beautiful, young and barely dressed. The men are suave and handsome with controll over everything. It was a powerful film about a woman’s fight against society, but view viewers are going to notice the message because of the context it was filmed in. Many teenage boys watched Showgirls over and over again. They saw only the sexy dancers and the sex scenes, they didn’t even look for a deeper message.

In that sense, I feel the writers failed in portraying a woman’s struggle in society in a relatable fashion. They put too much concentration into the naked dancers and the sexual tension. Therefore, if the writers were trying to portray the women’s plight so that men can understand it, they failed miserably. Give men a movie with exotic dancers and they will say, “What plot? ” Women can appreciate Nomi’s struggle and even sympathize with her at times if they ever get bored enough to demean themselves and rent the movie with the naked woman on the cover.

The Psychological Effects of Gender Roles

“Let the boys be boys. ” You’ve heard this phrase before. Often repeated by parents regarding their little boys. So what makes a boy, a boy? Rambo like characteristics? Muscles? Short hair? Wearing blue? Wearing T-shirts and jeans or playing with sporting equipment? Well last I remember, the main characteristics boys shared were penises. The role gender association play in the lives of our children can sometimes affect them negatively. The messages that gender roles send, is that in order to be part of society, you must fit into the norm or the status quo or most importantly what society eems as acceptable.

But all the while, trying to incorporate individuality and establishing ones sense of self. Two conflicting ideas that can confuse a child and also alter the way they live their lives. There are two colors that are designated to babies that serve one purpose and one purpose only. Most infant boys were the color blue and girls wear pink. Seeing that it is difficult to determine the sex of an infant without general exposure to the genitals, most parents choose to clothe they’re young child in the respective colors so people will know whether it is a boy or a girl.

After all, what male infant wears pink? When the children grow older, do they still continue the practice the color identification game? This is wear it changes. When boys reach the age wear they start dressing themselves and start buying their own clothes, they will continue to wear the blues and the greens and even yellows and reds, but not pink or violet, cause those are “girly” colors. Girls on the other hand, when they reach the same age still continue to wear the pink and violets and can even wear the blues, yellows, blacks, and greens.

So why can irls make the “cross-over” without being teased or mocked but boys cant without being called a gay or a fagot. The clothing issue goes farther than that. The fashion industry does make boundaries with clothing. There is women’s clothing and men’s clothing. Women can wear men’s clothing, and at times its the stylish thing to do. Young girls can dress like boys or wear boys clothing and at times will only be called a tom-boy, but that is acceptable to society. Let’s see a man in public wearing a dress, and we stop and go out of our way to break our necks just so we can get a good look.

Some even have the nerve to yell obscenities and gossip out loud. Most people don’t mock ethnic men for wearing ethnic clothing that highly resembles dresses or skirts, so why doesn’t American society accept it with non-ethnic men that do it cause they want to. As much as fashion and clothing affect the way our children think and act, much of that is advertised through their toys and the entertainment business. When I was a young girl, my parents never bought me basketballs, baseball mitts,water guns, GI JOE figurines (notice that I say GI JOE figurines not GI JOE dolls), or video games.

Instead I received frilly dresses, board games, water balloons, and Barbie dolls. I know I’m not alone. Millions of girls received the same things I did and many boys received similar gifts growing up as well. Many girls were scolded for playing with boys toys because mommy and daddy said, “Those toys are for boys, go play with your dolls. ” Parents just didn’t want to see their “sugar and spice and everything nice” turn into a tom-boy. Have you wondered why young girls grow up and are very good with children and are often chose as baby-sitters over boys, and ultimately become good mothers.

Many say it’s that motherly instinct and the bond mothers build with their child while they are still in the womb, but that alone, doesn’t explain how they are able to take care of the baby and care to the baby’s needs. Have you ever wondered why males arrant for the most part very good with children? It is because they weren’t allowed to play with dolls. When children are at the age of two to seven, that is the period of their lives where they will learn the most information.

That is about the age gap where many boys would like to play with dolls but are discouraged especially by their fathers to do so. If they are allowed to play with dolls, they learn how to care for the dolls and treat them well, and those are the practices females carry on into motherhood. Surpassingly, in a class room experiment done with a doll called Baby, Think Again, which is a computerized doll, which is programmed to cry at certain times of the day for certain reasons, male participants were vary successful with their “child”.

The computer can tell someone how many times the baby cried, what the“mother/father” didn’t or did do correctly. Orland Richard’s from Project Promise, a program geared towards adolescence, said that when he comes into the classroom and tells his students that 65% of males who impregnate their girlfriend arrant there to help with the baby after their birth and he tells them that they have a responsibility, they try so much harder and care for their “baby” more intensely than some of the young women in the class because they have so much to prove.

They come in the next day and wait for me tom open the computer to see if the lights are blinking, and they arrant. They even say, ‘See Mr. Richards, I can be a good father. ’ The funny thing is that they even come back the next day and say, ‘ Hey, Mr. Richards, can I have the same baby again tonight, you know, the one that looks like me! ’ That makes me feel so good inside, and there will be one less single mother in the world. ” Why it is so hard to communicate with someone of the opposite sex?

Is it really the genetically make up, X and Y chromosomes, or is it that we really truly think differently? We really do think differently. I know that many parents encourage little girls not to play with the boys because they feel that type of social interaction wouldn’t be appropriateonce they reach puberty, especially when they become aware of sex and relationships. So this sort of separation contributed to the lack of communication between the sexes.

If cross-gender interaction and communication was encouraged, perhaps boys and girls would grow up knowing how to be sensitive to eachothers needs and also learn more about eachother which would help them understand what it takes to make healthy and long lasting relationships. It also affects how each sex conducts public communication and who the environment they are most comfortable speaking in. “ Men speak to convey information, to challenge others, to achieve status in a group, or to put themselves in a “one-up” situation.

Many women, on the other hand, feel more comfortable with private conversations among friends and family. They talk to achieve and nurture intimacy, to promote closeness and equality in a group, and to build better connections to others. ”(Tannen). Although the gender differences exist in communication, it doesn’t mean that one is superior to the other or one is at fault. It is important that we are able to recognize these differences because it can only help “… overcome potential obstacles to their mutual understanding and acceptance. ” (Hales).

One of the greatest influences on children is the entertainment industry. They show us what they feel are the images we should shape ourselves after. They promote beauty, material possessions, money and power. Look at the magazines that are aimed at youngwoman such as Seventeen, YM, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Madamoiselle, and Glamour. The list is endless. The all show young girls, how to apply their make-up, the season’s “must have” wardrobe, horoscopes, and the perfect look. Young girls have died trying to achieve “the look” that society sees as beautiful.

Young girls are told they must be beautiful, slender, and the object of a man’s desire. As corrupt as it sounds, entertainment media thrives on this and goes as far as they can to make sure they reach every young girl across the world. Look at the magazines aimed at young boys, there is a totally different theme eing carried out. Most boys magazines are comic, sport, and action orientated. The message is totally different. They model they way they dress according to their favorite musicians, actors or sports figure.

Perhaps if women’s magazines were more aimed at how to protect yourself from violence, STD’s, unplanned pregnancies or how to be confident, and promote education, sports, extra-cirricular activities instead of how to know if your popular, or the must have lipstick of the fall, or how to know if he likes you, or what your avorite BACKSTREET BOY likes and dislikes, then maybe the rate of abortions, teen pregnancies, STD’s, obesity, eating disorders, depression, date rape, kidnappings and domestic violence would decrease. Whether they like it or not, society has a responsibility.

They deem what is acceptable, it is time they deem what is right! There are some positive aspects of gender roles that even I like and wish was still implemented as a part of daily living and modern courtship. It is good to see that many men still open the car doors for their ladies, take them out to dinner and a movie, and initiate contact between the two. Although it is the 90’s and we are approaching the millennium, and women are being more and more independent and paying the bills and initiating first contact, I feel that it was something has shaped them when they were younger and to this day makes them independent and free.

It’s a good to know that some women don’t expect their male partners to pay for everything. The most negative affect applying gender roles to the way you raise your children is that children are motivated to find their own identity. Parents often tell their children to think for themselves or be their own person but they don’t understand that when they ombard their children with certain practices, they are sending a mixed message. Yes, its a message most children are to young to understand but its not the children who need their eyes opened, its the parents.

Many children, upon reaching adolescence are able to see past the stereotypes and figure out who they are, what they like or dislike, and what is right and what is wrong, but its what they go through that is dangerous. When there is no support system there fore the child, they will go through psychological problems and often look towards food or vigorous activity and suffer from eating disorders and depression and some commit suicide. All because they weren’t able to play the role their parents molded for them.

This essay isn’t to be taken personally, or applied to everyone’s life. I, in certain cases probably take part in some of these gender role activities but the important thing is that I understand and am able to observe what is going on and what can happen. I’m am in no way implying that making your infant son wear blue is bad and if he wears pink as he gets older, it your fault. I know that I probably wouldn’t be to happy about the fact that my little boy is wearing pink either, but its how you approach and deal with the situation he can have an effect on your child.

Many parents would probably tell their children this type of situation, “ Pink is for girls, take it off. What are you gay or something. Are you a sissy? Act like a boy. ” (Finaut) It is brought upon so negatively and makes the child feel low and incompetent, especially if they are told this by their fathers. Not everyone will agree with my point of view and that is something I understand, but its all about being open-minded which is obviously not the message gender roles send.

Gender Roles in Shakespeare

It is a peculiar feature of Shakespeare’s plays that they both participate in and reflect the ideas of gender roles in Western society. To the extent that they reflect existing notions about the ‘proper’ roles of men and women, they can be said to be a product of their society. However, since they have been studied, performed, and taught for five hundred years, they may be seen as formative of contemporary notions about the relationships between males, females, and power.

Derrida was right in asserting that “there is no ‘outside’ to the text. ” His claim is that every text is ffected by every other text and every other speech act. As an instance, most of Shakespeare’s plays have traceable sources for their central plots. Representations of gender in Renaissance drama are tied to their original presentation: “bearing the traces of their history in a theatrical enterprise which completely excluded women, (these texts) construct gender from a relentlessly androcentric perspective” (Helms 196).

It is the ways in which these texts reflect or distort the gender expectations of society, either Elizabethan or contemporary, that is so important. Comedy that centers on the relationship between conventional couples rather than on resolution of the situation that keeps them apart is really quite difficult to find in Shakespeare. Ferdinand and Miranda are so uninteresting as a couple that their chief function seems to be as an excuse for Prospero to exhibit his art.

The lovers in Midsummer Nights Dream are certainly at their most entertaining when they’re in love with the wrong person. It is the exaggerated character–Falstaff, Petruchio, Paulina, or Cleopatra–or those who step outside the borders of their assigned gender roles–Rosalind, Portia, Viola–who generate he greatest theatrical and critical interest. Elizabethan society had a loosely determined set of normal behaviors that are frequently linked to gender.

Despite diffusion of these gender expectations in both time periods (see Dollimore, Traub), there are definite behaviors that either lie within the constructs of gender or exceed/transgress patterns accepted as conventional. Through the mechanisms of exaggeration or transgression, Shakespeare’s comedies focus attention on the matter of gender and derive comedy from the situations created. Characters that are natural representations of their gender do not ontain the same possibilities for comedy.

Beatrice says “O, that I were a man” (Much Ado About Nothing, IV. i. 303), implying in context that her gender has made it impossible for her to act. Other female characters in Shakespeare do take on male roles, and whether it is because their true identity is hidden or simply by virtue of their acceptance as non-female, they are able to function in the text in ways that an undisguised female character could not. Rosalind/Ganymede instructs Orlando in the ways of love. Viola/Cesario enters Orsino’s house and, consequentially, his heart.

Portia argues a case at law; actually serving as a judge in a dispute involving her new husband’s best friend. In assuming a man’s role, these women overcome the limitations to which Beatrice finds her sex subjected. When male characters assume feminine characteristics these are seen as an impediment to action (or inaction is seen as womanish). In Tro. act I, Troilus has not taken the field because he is hopelessly in love with Cressida. He describes the experience as unmanning, as depriving him of his masculinity.

When Aeneas asked why he is not in the day’s attle Troilus identifies himself as “this woman . . . / because womanish it is to be from thence” (I. i. 106). He finds he cannot behave as a man should, because a woman exerts an authority over him. Troilus’ weakness is paralleled and emphasized in Ulysses’ figuration of Achilles who “Grows dainty of his worth, and in his tent/ Lies mocking our designs. With him Patroclus/ Upon a lazy bed the livelong day/ Breaks scurril jests” (I. iii. 145-148). Both men are warriors, both are unmanned by affection.

Achilles’ dalliance with Patroclus carries with it the additional “signifying burden of the unnatural'” (Traub 73), but the trope remains the same. Achilles and Troilus are neglecting their duties as warriors because of a physical attraction, and in each case it is seen as ‘womanish’ or ‘dainty. ‘ Patroclus himself tells Achilles “A woman impudent and mannish grown/ Is not more loath’d than an effeminate man/ in time of action” (III. iii. 217-219). Achilles is slow to be moved, however; when he expresses a desire to see the Trojan heroes it is “a woman’s longing . . .

To see great Hector in his weeds of peace” (III. iii. 237,239). It is only when their objects of desire are emoved that Troilus and Achilles resume their ‘manly’ duties; Achilles upon Patroclus’ death, and Troilus after the trauma of seeing Cressida with Diomede. Neither Helen nor Cressida live up to the expectations forced upon them, but they do not fail to fit the stereotypes of femininity that the Elizabethan stage forces upon women in general. Cressida has by that point in history become synonymous with female infidelity, while Helen’s status has been more privileged.

However, “the Elizabethan theater characteristically calls idealization into question and foregrounds excess” (Belsey 92). Helen is both idealized and the pursuit of her excessive; hence she is unlikely to escape unscathed in a satirical treatment of the Trojan war. The contrast between the empowering masculinization of female characters and the paralyzing feminization of males make the latter more appropriate to a tragedy or a satire, the former more useful in comedy. Rosalind speaks several times in ways that display an awareness of her (doubly) altered gender, for instance linking boys and women as “cattle of this color” (III. i. 414).

In a more radical maneuver ‘she’ addresses the audience as a male epilogue. “If I were a woman … (AYLI epilogue) not only calls attention to the gap between the gender of the performer and the gender of the actor, but demands that the audience recognize of the actor as actor. The tensions set up in the play remain in suspense until Ganymede disappears and Rosalind reappears near the end of Act V. All the complications surrounding Orlando, Phebe, and Silvius are resolved as Rosalind gives up her assumption of a man’s prerogatives.

It is easy to assume that dominant males in Shakespearean comedy conform to norms of expectation and behavior, but it is more difficult to determine what those expectations may have een in the Elizabethan era. Psychologists have examined the development of sexual awareness as part of identity. Much psychological theory holds that the male child’s initial awareness as Other (than Mother) has to do with a recognition first of separateness and then of difference; arguably sexual difference. If “the awareness of being a man or a woman–gender identity–coexists with the awareness of being a separate individual.

Part of making that separation is denying the authority of the females who raised male children during the English Renaissance, and as a onsequence abrogating authority to women in later life would represent a challenge not only to a man’s sense of power, but to his very sense of male identity. (Kahn 9) If it is the man’s part to swagger, roar, thunder, boast, and swear, then Petruchio is the perfect type of the male. But these behaviors are excessive and “farcical exaggerations of normal masculine behavior” (Kahn 109).

We are encouraged to understand Petruchios behavior as a performance. His initial scene with Kate establishes a basis for understanding his excesses throughout acts II-IV as part of an act. Later, Petruchio speaks of his acts as performance (IV. . 188- 211), perhaps to assure the audience that they are indeed witnessing a comedy and not something worse. Barton (in Evans107) argues that this performance is designed to show Katherine the folly of her excesses, demonstrate to her how shrewishness is intolerable.

Petruchio’s several allusions to his military past “bespeak a lifelong acquaintance with masculine violence as a physical vocation” (Kahn 109). Petruchio’s actions are part of a performance but the underlying truth (for Petruchio) is not that this excessive behavior is undesirable, but that it is undesirable in a woman. Behavior suited to a man is prohibited in a woman, since she must be complementary to him, not competitive with him. Petruchio goes too far, to make a point with Kate, but it is because Petruchio’s assertion of his dominance is excessive that an audience is allowed to find it comedic.

The best example of a Shakespearean comedy which depends on the success of a cross- gender disguise is As You Like It. In order to escape the restrictions of Duke Frederick’s court, Celia declares that she will accompany the banished Rosalind out of the court. They resolve to join Rosalind’s father in the Forest of Arden. Fearing molestation should they travel as two women, Rosalind proposes to disguise herself as a man because she is “more than common tall” (I. iii. 115).

Realizing that more than cross-dressing is necessary to make her disguise convincing, she determines to assume “a swashing and a martial outside,/ As many other mannish cowards do” (I. iii. 120-121). Imogen (in Cym) is told by Pisanio that she “must forget to be a woman; change . . . fear and niceness . . . into a waggish courage,/ Ready in gibes, quick-answerd, saucy, and/ As quarrelsome as the weasel” (III. iv. 154-159). Imogen hardly has an opportunity to perform her role, ut Rosalind, who has made many of the same choices, maintains hers for the better part of her time on stage.

Not only are male disguises for female characters exploited for ironic humor and for the curiously compounded sexual tensions they make possible, they bring to the fore all the conventional expectations of masculine performance implied by Elizabethan society. Male disguise for a male character–for such is the over determined performance of masculinity displayed by Petruchio–similarly highlights those aspects of behavior that are taken for granted as ‘male’ when exaggeration does not make them obvious; and funny.

Gender Stereotyping With Children

When you walk into the toy section of any store, you do not need a sign to indicate which section is the girls’ side and which section is the boys’ side. Aside from all the pink, purple, and other pastel colors that fill the shelves on the girls’ side, the glitter sticks out a lot as well. The boys’ toys however are mostly dark colors – blue, black, red, gray, or dark green. The colors typically used on either side are very stereotypical in themselves. I noticed the girls’ toys engaged fine motor skills more than the boys’ toys did.

The girls have several different types and sizes of dolls to choose from – however, this also makes dolls or items used with dolls (Barbie clothes, doll clothes, doll houses, Barbie cars, and doll furniture) over half of all the products in the girls’ section. This shows the stereotypical attitude that all girls like to nurture and will someday be expected to be mothers and the primary care giver for their children. Other toys I noticed that were very stereotypical were the child size vacuum, broom, and kitchen set. Even at this young age we teach girls it is part of their role to cook and clean.

Another stereotype I saw demonstrated in the girls section was the idea that all girls are animal lovers. A large section of the girls’ side was filled with different stuffed animals or other toy animals like “Pound Puppies” or “My Little Ponies”. Mostly the girls’ toys used fine motor skills instead of gross motor skills, most promoted non-aggressive play and behavior and promoted a stereotypical idea such as cooking, cleaning, or caring for children. The boys’ toys mostly all used gross motor skills. Like the dolls in the girls’ section, the boys have equally as many types of cars or other vehicles to choose from.

The boys’ side consisted of mainly three categories all together – 1) action figures, 2) “role” toys (guns – “Cops and Robbers” or “Cowboys and Indians”; ax, helmet, and badge – fireman; and miniature tools for pretending to be a construction worker) 3) cars. I discovered there weren’t really any toys in the boys’ section that didn’t fit in one of these three categories. All the boys toys were very stereotypical. The extreme concentration of cars in the boys’ toys shows the stereotypical attitude that all boys like cars. The toys that weren’t car related all promoted either an aggressive behavior or “manly” job.

Like the girls’ section, very few toys didn’t promote a stereotypical idea. Few toys were aimed equally at both genders. Even board games, while intended for both sexes, usually seemed aimed more towards one gender or another. Both sections had a lot of gender- stereotypical toys. General ideas on girls’ and boys’ behaviors and interests were very prevalent in the toys intended for each gender. After really looking at the toys in both sections it is easy to understand why stereotypical ideas about both genders are so strong since these ideas are introduced at such a young age.

Gender Moments Report

“He throws like a girl! ” This insult is heard all too often and is harsh to boys because of the perception of girls being weak. We are constantly bombarded with moments emphasizing gender in everyday situations. After training myself to see these differences my eyes have been opened to something I have previously believed “natural” and allowed a new perspective to push through. I see attitudes and behavior now as socially constructed and not usually inherent.

In R. W. Connel’s book Gender, he defines gender as “the structure of social relationship that centers on the reproductive arena, and the set of practices that bring reproductive distinctions between bodies into social processes” (pg 10). I have found that gender is an institution, a pattern that has attained a social state. Gender is unique in that it is meshed with many other institutions, thus changing gender, it would mean changing much of society. I chose to focus my paper on the different institutions gender is a part of, in education throughout development, relationships, religion, and politics.

Although I have only touched the surface, I believe that gender is an institution; an order or pattern that has attained a social state or property. Education is a potent institution used to reinforce gender differences. In our reading we found that children are much more likely to separate themselves at school in gender categories than in their neighborhoods. As Barrie Thorne points out in her book Gender Play, “Apart from age, of all the social categories of the students, gender was the most formally, and informally, highlighted in the course of each school day” (pg 34).

I feel that many experiences in elementary school have reinforced my gender outlook. I spent much of my time in elementary school racing the boys and biting my nails to show I wasn’t scared to “break a nail” and never wearing a dress. Recess was a fight for me half the time. I didn’t like the connotation of being called a “girl. ” Now I realize that I was trying to oppose the gender role I was expected to perform, yet eventually I grew out of that “phase” of fighting against the norm and joined the ranks of the girls. I moved from the field, to the bars and jump rope.

I see now that the change I went through was just giving in to the reinforcement around me to be feminine. Instead of fighting against the grain, I chose the easy road by conforming to the norms required for proper girlhood. The second thing I learned from elementary schoolers is that they are vital to passing on societies expected gender roles. Connell explains, “These laws are a part of an enormous social effort to channel people’s behavior” (pg 4). When I am around children multiple times gender law has been addressed, “girls don’t play with Lego’s.

There was also a little boy who felt he did something wrong when he quietly admitted to me that this favorite color was purple. The rules that society has set up are very apparent and are heavily policed during childhood. The third thing I gleaned from this experience is how adults played a role. My parents thought it was cute that I was a “Tom Boy. ” My little brother (who grew up with five sisters) was caught playing with Barbie’s on a few occasions, and my parents became nervous about the situation and quickly exchanged his Malibu Barbie for a GI Joe.

It’s more socially accepted for women to cross over to the male side however, it is inappropriate for men to do the same. The idea of what is right and wrong is strongly reinforced by adults. In middle and high school my femininity was defined. I wanted to be a girl more than ever. In the article Gender and New Institutionalism Katherine Graham states in her personal history a universal situation. A large struggle during adolescence is to figure out how to be appealing to boys (pg 14). We both discovered that we needed to be fake in order to be attractive.

I had my first boyfriend and the entire relationship was pre-scripted. It was like everyone else’s middle school relationship. The boy called first, he asked “me out” and then we held hands, I watched his sports events etc. I took everything for granted as being natural and I really wanted to fill that role. No one wants to be different in middle school and it’s very easy to try to conform in anyway possible and ostracize people who are different. This is another poignant time where gender is reinforced. In college I’ve found that majors are very gendered.

I was previously a Dietetics major and after telling a boy this he said “that’s one of my favorite majors for girls to have. ” I was offended by the comment because it connoted that he liked girls to study nutrition as a promise that they won’t get fat when they get older. There are always stories of the girl who “choose an easy major because it doesn’t matter what she studies, she’s going to just stay at home anyway. ” This idea of the “feminine” or the “ideal man” is a poignant force that shapes who we are and what we do, In many of my classes I have noticed that I am nervous to ask a question while most of the men do the talking.

Gender is very apparent in religion. As a member of the LDS church, I’ve found that it is reinforced for women in our emotions; it’s rare to go a relief society meeting without pictures, table cloths, treats, and tears. It’s an expected role. Multiple times I’ve heard women say they feel overwhelmed when called to presidency positions because they don’t have the homemaking skills the other women have. The unique thing about the LDS religion is its emphasis on roles of women and men and that they are equally important. Talcott Parsons had a similar take with the theory of complimentary roles.

He describes men and women as being different in useful ways. The fact that society values men’s characteristics and roles much more than women; women are generally looked at as inferior. To be valued in society women need to break the woman role and try to do “manly” things, for example get a job, or a higher education. While being equally qualified, women aren’t valued the same as men. Kimberlee Holland, in her class social problems, explained that women are paid 76 cents to the dollar that men receive for the same job.

Gender in politics is very obvious in the lack of women represented, and has changed extremely slowly. Women are not taken seriously when it comes to politics, and that is reflected in the 13. 5% female representatives in congress and 14% in the senate. The USA is number 57 in the world for how many women are represented in politics (Kimberlee Holland). A social conflict theorist Friedrich Engels would describe this in his theory the rise of patriarchy. He claims that men are determined to push women down and keep them out of the “important” aspects of society.

As described in the article, Gender and New Institutionalism Cornwall and King define institutions as possessing “1. Classification 2. Institutionalized logics and 3. Diffusion, legitimization, and taken for grantedness. ” After reading this, I found all the characteristics in my gender moments. Although individuals act on a personal basis, their acts collectively fit societies pre-determined standard and mold. I see much of individuality as either conforming to decisions already made or trying to push against the mold. Men and women are different, but not as different as society would like to assume.

Gender is intertwined in many of society’s institutions-education, religion, relationships, and politics- and because it is tangled up in all, it is very hard to change gender as an institution. It is very likely to be reinforced beginning in childhood; from children, adults, and peers. Because of the reinforcement, it is reproduced from parents to children and conforming is the easiest way to go through society. Change happens very slowly and although there is change from my grandmother’s experience to my own, I see the change as not very fluid- instead of water it’s more like heavy mud.

Gender Stereotypes Essay

Today, every one of us is spending more of his leisure time watching TV, listening to the radio or reading newspapers and magazines. The shows on the TV and the articles in the newspapers influence our decision process, shaping our perceptions for the world. Besides the positive fact that we are better informed and in touch with the latest news, we should be aware that accepting this enormous flow of information and allowing it to make our mind can be dangerous. The TVs infiltrate our lives, guiding us what are we supposed to wear, how are we supposed to look and act.

Children, because of lack of mature judging values, re more susceptible to the influence of the television. They tend to accept everything they see on TV as real. Kids often identify with movie characters and comics figures much more than the elder generation does. It is the role of the parents to teach them that not everythink that glitters is gold and to give them a better perception of the world. That of course does not mean that parents are affected less by the TV. On the contrary, they are often more affected than their kids, of course not by cartoons, but by shows that contain information about serious subjects such as parenthood.

Concerned with being good parents, people are accumulating a lot of information on the subject. As the information can be very helpful, sometimes it can be destructive. That is the case when it comes to the problem of “tomboys” and “sissies. ” What are these two terms used for? The term “tomboy” is used when referring to a girl who is masculine, and the term “sissy” is used when referring to a boy who is feminine. We need to state what we consider feminine and what is masculine. According to the established sense in the society, femininity and masculinity are tightly bound to gender.

Men are supposed to be masculine. They are expected to be strong, rough, to have high stamina. They are not supposed to wear skirts(the Scots are an exception) but trousers, and should avoid colors like pink and violet. These are “feminine” colors. The man in the family is usually the person who should provide money and build a career. On the othere hand, women are supposed to be tender and loving mothers and wives, to wear skirts and to walk on higheels. They are should not have a career, but should take care of the kids and the house. It seems that these perceptions have been existing forever.

That is ecause from early childhood, we are thought by our parents that pink is for girls, and blue is for boys. The trucks and weaponry toys are for boys and the dolls are for girls. Than, it is not surprising that we accept gender stereotyping and try to fit in the rigid models of feminine and masculine. For example, women athletes and especially tennis players and basketball players are afraid of losing their femininity. These sports are famous for the large number of gay players that are involved. Because of that, the hetero athletes are a subject of suspicion of being gays. To avoid this they are trying to look more eminine.

A basketball coach even had developed a term for this phenomenon– “hetero-sexy. ” We are not only trying to fit in the models, but we are prone to pass our perceptions to our children. In this way, we are trying to protect them from the society. However by doing this, we are causing them more harm than if they were to become gays. A recent show on NBC Superchannel was dedicated to the problem of “tomboys” and “sissies. ” In it, light was shed on the life of some tomboys and sissies, as well as on the anxiety of their parents. A girl at an age of three was shown, dressed with a skirt and playing with dolls.

The next shot was at an age of four, revealing the changes that the attitude of the girl towards the dolls and dresses has been totally changed. Now she preferred to hang out in jeans rather than in dress. When she was asked by her mother to try a pink dress, she refused with the words “Pink sucks! ” The girl participated actively in sports such as basketball and baseball, demonstrating good technical skills at both. Why then her parents were worried and had searched psychological advice? The answer to this question is in the assumption that when such kids grow up, they inevitably will turn to be gay.

The fear of the parents is raised by the fact that their girls or boys ignore the existence of their gender and prefer to communicate only with the opposite one. A girl on the show, when asked about her friends, revealed that she hang out only with boys. Her mother explained that, when she was introducing her to friends and calling her “my little girl,” the kid argued with her that she is in fact a boy “You have two boys mom, not a boy and a girl, ” she replied. The girl was involved into a test the nature of which was to determine her affections toward some pictures that were shown to her.

From the results could be inferred that the girl was prone to accept her as a boy and to accept boys as her friends A recent show on NBC Superchannel was dedicated to the problem of “tomboys” and “sissies. ” In it, light was shed on the life of some of them, as well as on the anxiety of their parents. A girl at the age of three was shown, dressed with a skirt and playing with dolls. The next shot of her was at the age of four, revealing that the attitude of the girl towards the dolls and dresses has been totally changed. Now she was preferring to hang out in jeans rather that in a dress.

When she was asked by her mother to try a pink dress, she refused with the words “Pink sucks! ” The girl participated actively in sports such as basketball and baseball, demonstrating good technical skills at both. She revealed that all of her friends are boys. Her mother explained that when she was introducing her to friends and calling her “my little girl,” the kid argued with her that she is in fact a boy. “You have two boys mom, not a boy and a girl. ” This attitude of the girl did not appear to be normal for the parents and that is what scared them.

They were scared because hey were not pleased with the possibility of raising a gay. This underlines an important tendency in our society. Most of the people are still uncomfortable with gays. They tend to associate gays only with negative things such as AIDS and other diseases. Gays are not allowed to serve in the army and to occupy high decision-making positions. That’s why, it is not surprising that parents are concerned with the problem. They are trying to protect their kids from the society, large portion of which does not tolerate “deviations” from the established norms of behavior.

The assumption that when such kids grow up, they inevitably will be gay. This paranoia was further expanded by studies which appeared to be dealing with the problem. The results from them were striking, 25% of all “tomboys” will inevitably be lesbian when they grow up, and 35% of the “sissies” will be gay. The parents were trying to prevent that to happen by every mean. Some of them even went extreme and oppressed their kids by using punishment. However, as later was discovered, the studies were conducted on extreme cases.

For example, all of the participants in the study on “sissies” ere boys who not only played with dolls, but dressed themselves as girls. Most of them were raised by single mothers and in an environment where their contacts with men were limited. Recent studies discovered that you do not become a gay, you are born one, contrary to the assumption that sexuality is formed in the childhood. In this case, the parent’s desire to fit their children into the stereotypes backfired and resulted in harming their children. The parents were a victim also, by following the rigid path of stereotyping they wounded the one that they love most–their children.

Gender Identity and Stereotyping

This research group was assigned the topic of Gender Identity and Stereotyping. As a group we discussed why we chose this topic and how it affects us in our lives. We first has to come up with the definition of gender. However before the definition is given there needs to be some explanation of some termonlogy. Most people think gender is the sex that we were assigned at birth. Upon further study this research group found that gender is more of a psychological process that children go through to acquire the characteristics of male or female in their prescribed cultures. (Child Development third addition)

Gender Stereotyping is the expectation or belief that individuals within a certain culture hold about the behaviors that are characteristics of male or female in their given culture. As a research group we talked about how gender stereotyping can influence a childs development. This research group also talked about what types of stereotyping might affect the child’s development and who has the most affect on a child’s gender development. (Child Development third addition) As a group we came up with some questions about gender stereotyping that we discussed and that we wanted to research.

The group came up with one question about gender stereotyping that we wanted to research the question is How Preschool and Kindergarten aged children are influenced by gender stereo typing in their development. The question was divided into seven parts. They include: How parents influence a child, how peers influence a child, how books influence a child, how toys influence a child, and how television and siblings influence a child’s development. This research project Involved a questionnaire that was given out haphazardly to various individuals within the groups community.

The questionnaire was responded to by fifty individuals, all of which responded to it and gave it back. We took the answers and compiled them and started our research from the answers that were given. (Delores, Cynthia, research paper) Research paper on Gender Identity and Stereotyping. Introduction and Background This research group was assigned the topic of Gender Identity and Stereotyping. As a group we discussed why we chose this topic and how it affects us in our lives. We first has to come up with the definition of gender. However before the definition is given there needs to be some explanation of some termonlogy.

Most people think gender is the sex that we were assigned at birth. Upon further study this research group found that gender is more of a psychological process that children go through to acquire the characteristics of male or female in their prescribed cultures. (Child Development third addition) Gender Stereotyping is the expectation or belief that individuals within a certain culture hold about the behaviors that are characteristics of male or female in their given culture. As a research group we talked about how gender stereotyping can influence a childs development.

This research group also talked about what types of stereotyping might affect the child’s development and who has the most affect on a child’s gender development. (Child Development third addition) As a group we came up with some questions about gender stereotyping that we discussed and that we wanted to research. The group came up with one question about gender stereotyping that we wanted to research the question is How Preschool and Kindergarten aged children are influenced by gender stereo typing in their development. The question was divided into seven parts.

They include: How parents influence a child, how peers influence a child, how books influence a child, how toys influence a child, and how television and siblings influence a child’s development. This research project Involved a questionnaire that was given out haphazardly to various individuals within the groups community. The questionnaire was responded to by fifty individuals, all of which responded to it and gave it back. We took the answers and compiled them and started our research from the answers that were given. (Delores, Cynthia, research paper)